Google updated the Google Home app which now shows a message saying that “multiple users are now supported” on the Discover tab. The feature is not available yet, but it would mean the hub could recognize different voices all at once.
This function could unlock the real potential of the tech giant’s smart hub, which lacks many of the capabilities of Google Assistant precisely because it cannot discern between different users.
Android Police first noticed the feature hidden deep within the code of the latest app update back in early March. Other tech outlets have also hinted at Google Home gaining new capabilities with other updates further along the way.
Multiple-user support could outdo the Amazon Echo
Google is concerned with protecting user’s privacy above all else. As such, it has chosen to keep the device’s functionality limited to the single account it can currently handle instead of allowing a free-for-all data management.
The alternative would be to adopt a strategy similar to that of Amazon. The rival Amazon Echo and Echo Dot allow multiple users to use multiple accounts with the same device, but they have to issue a command to switch between them beforehand.
There is a fundamental flaw in that approach, though, and that is that the Echo cannot differentiate voices. That makes accounts paired with the smart hub vulnerable to anyone who orders it to access them.
Android experts have noted the mobile OS already has a voice recognition feature, and that Google Home could stand on those same foundations to distinguish between users once multiple-user support rolls out.
That way, there would be no need to switch between accounts with commands like with the Echo. Saying ‘OK Google’ would be enough for the hub to recognize it’s you, and finally give you access to your data, music, calendar, emails, and more without worrying about privacy.
More promising features are coming to Google Home
Both Amazon and Google are looking into how to make their smart speakers even smarter and more functional than they are now. Some reports suggest developers seek to displace essential gadgets like landlines and routers.
The Wall Street Journal said back in February that the two tech giants were developing phone call functions into Google Home and Amazon Echo, much like FaceTime and Allo work on Android and iOS.
The feature would work both between devices and with actual landline phones, ending the necessity of having your number at home. It is just speculation at this point how it would work, and if users would have to pay a fee for calls.
Another rumor is that Google plans on developing a hybrid version of the Google Home that is also a Google Wi-Fi hotspot. That would make sense, and it would work as a mesh network with points that both replicate the signal and respond to commands like the Echo Dot.
Source: Digital Trends