Google's Pixel Buds Gain Spoken Notifications App Filtering


Google's Pixel Buds can now be customized so 'Spoken Notifications' are only provided for the apps the user wants notifications from. This change is actually occuring at the app level with the Google app now showing the option to customize the experience, first spotted by 9to5 Google.

While it is currently unclear when the feature definitely became live, it was not a feature that was understood to be offered up until now. Instead, users only had the opportunity to either activate or disable Spoken Notifications in general. Now, however, users can head through the Google app settings to where the Spoken Notifications tab is located and once the tab is clicked through it will open a separate page (shown below). This is the same page and process that was in effect previously though the newer version of the page now includes separate toggles for all the apps installed on a device. The screenshot below shows the interface in its default mode highlighting how apps like Hangouts, Messages, and WhatsApp are all activated by default, while other apps are not. This will vary from device to device depending on which apps are installed, though it seems message apps are considered a default category. In either case, the option to completely enable or disable Spoken Notifications through the same main toggle is unchanged for those who prefer an all or nothing choice.

While this will be a useful new feature to owners of the Pixel Buds, it might not be the only one that is coming soon. As other customized actions are also thought to be on the way thanks to a recent teardown of the Google app which revealed the option to customize gesture actions such as double-tapping the earbuds. At present, this action is predetermined to activate Assistant through the suggestion is it could be used for other useful actions, such as track-skipping. On a related note, while it is unclear when the Google app was updated to accommodate this new customized option, it was also noted today that the Google app is now showing the new Assistant voices Google announced during I/O 2018. Allowing Assistant users to customize the voice they hear that little bit more.


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John has been writing about and reviewing tech products since 2014 after making the transition from writing about and reviewing airlines. With a background in Psychology, John has a particular interest in the science and future of the industry. Besides adopting the Managing Editor role at AH John also covers much of the news surrounding audio and visual tech, including cord-cutting, the state of Pay-TV, and Android TV. Contact him at [email protected]

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