Google Is Considering New Keywords For Google Assistant

May 18, 2017 - Written By Mihai Matei

Google is reportedly considering adding new keywords to its Google Assistant, which would allow users to summon the virtual helper without having to say “OK Google” or “Hey Google”. According to user feedback, Google Assistant’s summoning keywords feel more cumbersome compared to keywords used by other, rivaling virtual assistants including Amazon’s Alexa. However, according to the Vice President of Google Home, Rishi Chandra, the company is cautious about adding new keywords to Google Assistant because the platform might lose its identity.

Google could have chosen a different name for its virtual assistant, similar to how Microsoft picked “Cortana” and Amazon chose “Alexa” to represent their virtual assistants. However, there are some benefits to calling Google’s platform “Google Assistant”, as the name itself reveals the tool’s purpose to the user, and reminds that this is a Google product revolving around the company’s artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies. Having said that, Google Home’s Rishi Chandra reveals that the company is cautious about adding new keywords to the Google Assistant, however, Google has been listening to user feedback and this matter is not set in stone. Additional keywords for summoning the Google Assistant may be included in the future, but Google wants to approach this matter with caution and it won’t make any changes in this direction before understanding the implications of giving the virtual helper new hot words. It’s rather obvious that the company doesn’t want the “Google” label to be replaced by a different term, but hopefully, the tech giant will find a solution to making Google Assistant friendlier to summon. Until then, Google Assistant users will have to make do with “OK Google” and “Hey Google” as the only two hot words for activating the tool.

Google Assistant was announced about a year ago during Google I/O 2016 as a follow-up to Google Now and was labeled by the company as “your own personal Google”. It stood apart from Google Now by offering more contextual awareness and by having the ability to carry two-way conversations. It was initially available only on the Google Home smart speaker and the Google Pixel smartphones, but earlier this year Google Assistant began spreading further into the Android world as third-party smartphone manufacturers adopted the platform for their own products. Inevitably, this process exposed the Google Assistant to an increasing number of users, some of which have apparently provided Google with feedback in regards to the cumbersome keywords.