It also applies the entire weight of machine learning to your timers.

Google Assistant will shortly be able to learn how to pronounce names

When it comes to setting and adjusting timers with your speech, Google Assistant is having a simpler way to correct the name spelling, as well as increased contextual understanding. Google claims that the updates will be implemented over the next two days in a blog post announcing the changes.

If an Assistant has been mispronouncing your name, there's a new way and try to remedy it: just say your name out loud, and Google can try to understand how to pronounce it correctly. The old method, which is still open to those who desire it, asked you to spell out how you wanted your name to be pronounced.

If you want to check it out for yourself, go to Google Assistant settings, then Basic Info, and Nickname. It's worth remembering that you can't totally separate your text name from the spelling — asking it to call me "Jennifer" and using Mitchell as my nickname culminated in it saying "Mithl" (like Mithril, without the ri).

The blog post and video both demonstrate that this method can be used with other contacts, which is useful if you have friends whose names the Assistant consistently misspells.

Using its language recognition technology known as "BERT," Google is now bringing more semantic knowledge to timers. In practice, this can allow items like "cancel my second timer" and "cancel my boiling potato timer," as well as the ability to cancel named timers without having to use the same name you gave (the example Google uses in its video is canceling a timer called "boiled potatoes" by saying "cancel my boiling potato timer").

It could also resolve a dilemma I've seen frequently: if you create an alarm and then instruct the Assistant to add an hour to it, it would almost certainly create an alarm for an hour in the future. With the latest language recognition, it should be able to figure out why you really want your alarm to go off an hour later than it was scheduled for. It should also be able to manage errors easier, such as saying “set a timer for five, no wait, nine minutes.”

This kind of natural dialogue should be coming to more places of the Assistant soon, according to Google. For the time being, it seems that the majority of the work is being done around clocks, but who knows where it will lead? For a long time, Google Assistant has done a good job of being conversational in web searches, but the BERT technology might make it much more efficient.

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