Google Home Now Supports Multiple Users

Posted on April 20, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Android, Cloud, Hardware, Mobile, Smart Home with 16 Comments

Google announced today that its Googe Home digital personal assistant appliance now supports multiple users, answering one of my key complaints. I believe it is the first such device to offer this support.

“We’re adding the ability for up to six people to connect their account to one Google Home,” Google product manager Yury Pinsky explains. “So now when I ask my Google Assistant for help, it can distinguish my voice from my wife’s and I can hear my own personal playlists, my own commute time, my own schedule and more.”

This support was leaked earlier when users caught sight of it in the Google Home (formerly Chromecast) app. It works as you might expect: You have to train the app to differentiate your voice from the voices of other connected accounts, and then it will differentiate between you going forward.

Google says that multi-account support in Google Home will start rolling out today in the U.S. And it will expand to the U.K. in the coming months.

Well, that’s another nail in Cortana’s coffin. Anyone over at Microsoft worried about this at all? Anyone?

 

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Comments (16)

16 responses to “Google Home Now Supports Multiple Users”

  1. daveevad

    The "Cortana Cube" or whatever, made by whoever, will need to: 1. meet or exceed all of the features of Echo & Home. 2. Have a lower entry cost than Echo & Home. 3. Work with all of the third parties that Echo & Home do. Otherwise, it's DOA. Microsoft cannot win the "Mind-share" battle. If every one of these points are met but not exceeded people will choose the others.

    • david.thunderbird

      In reply to daveevad:

      I'll chose other, I'm still pissed about phone and RT.

    • Mestiphal

      In reply to daveevad:

      I don't want to sound like a pessimist, but that will never happen. Microsoft has shown us time and time again that no matter how under power, under feature, under develop their products are, they always see them as Premium items, and cost as such, even if they plan to discontinue support right after launch as with the original Surface running RT; the Surface Book a $4000 item that had major software issues at launch, Xbox One costing more than the PS4 at launch... even the MS store when it first launch, I'm not a developer, but I did read about the high charges MS was going after, even then their store was completely empty.


      As for multiple accounts, MS also sees us as lonely people, I have no idea what kind of perspective they have about society, but they have no concept of a family, as is the case with the Groove Music pass, Xbox Live is now shared, but it's not marketed as a family plan either, it's just a share benefit from the xbox. It also seems like development for Cortana died with Windows Phone, no new languages have been released since they were released for the phone itself.

  2. darkgrayknight

    Echo has profiles, but you have to manually switch as it doesn't recognize and distinguish different users' voices.

  3. Narg

    Personally, I hope MS never brings out a Cortana Cube (or whatever). And calling this a nail in coffin is a bit of an inference on something that's not yet a problem, isn't it? I'm mean, how many A.I.s do we need in the market place? History has shown any more than 2 competitors in the technology sector tends to lead to confuse and put ambiguity in the consumers buying considerations. That is until there is a real need for it, and that as a possibility is still probably a long way off.

  4. Ron Diaz

    LOL Cortana. I thought Microsoft was crazy abandoning the consumer space but seeing how badly they've botched things that they tried to keep afloat I guess they were right after all...

  5. brianforllp

    I've already moved on to google. All hope is lost for MS. Nothing they do excites me in the consumer space anymore. It's not to say they don't have some decent idea's every once in a while. It has more to do with the fact that they are basically the idea engine for everybody else. They can't execute. And even if they do, nobody uses their stuff so it's a waste. I've decided to choose Google... even thought hey scare me. They have the best vision. It's pretty obvious MS is going to bank on being a cloud provider to support mobile apps.

  6. Tony Barrett

    Amazon and Google have got too big a headstart now. Whatever MS comes to market with will be too little too late. They've implied they want to keep Cortana on the PC, but that's a big mistake. These devices have to work seamlessly and autonomously - designed to do one thing and do it well. They need to fit in the living space, and look just like furniture - everything the PC isn't. MS has also lost all consumer confidence, which is exactly what they need for any 'consumer' device they may launch.

  7. Bats

    This is what Paul called as "the FATAL flaw" before he easily gave up on it and promptly returned it. It was never FATAL, it just wasn't implemented. Google does this. Of course Paul never knew that, nor did he even try to do any research about it. He simply thought that the FATAL flaw was unfixable. Paul's FATAL flaw is his rush to judgment. Add this to the list of wrong assessments made by Paul.

    • Lateef Alabi-Oki

      In reply to Bats:

      Anybody who knows and follows Google knows they put out half-baked beta products to gather feedback. Then they iterate aggressively. So much so that their initial products, sometimes, don't even resemble the final ones. It is incredibly shortsighted to count out Google from the first iteration of their products.


      Gmail, Google Maps, Google Chrome, Android to mention a few, are examples of some of their products that started out with a whimper, but that have now become the top services in their respective categories. Assuming they don't abandon the product, Google will patiently iterate until said product is the best in the industry.


      I've just learned to be patient with them. Even when they make frustratingly obvious blunders like the fact that I still can't manage my calendar, set reminders, or take notes from Google Home. Or the fact that Google Home didn't integrate with enough Google services from the get go.


      Sometimes you don't even appreciate or understand their products until years down the line. ChromeOS didn't make sense to anybody 5 years ago. Now, thanks to the necessity of high-speed internet, the ubiquity of mobile devices, and the reality of the cloud, people get it.

  8. F4IL

    Cortana's Coffin makes for an interesting product name.

  9. red.radar

    With the pervasiveness that Amazon and Google have with their AI Assistants, I have to wonder is it time for Microsoft to kill Cortana and just let us insert our personal assistant of choice? Part of the reason I don't use Cortana is because the mobile experience is so clunky. and Mobile rules. I use google products, for communication and Mobile. Back annotating the data or opening up the permissions is just something I can't be bothered with because Google Assistant is good enough.


    Also...when at my desktop, I can't think of a reason i would want to talk to my computer when I can just point and click to the information I want. When Mobile, the limited input methods and variance of use cases means I can find myself legitimately wanting to talk to my phone.


    I don't get cortana it needs a phone or mobile strategy for it to work.


    Maybe I could get excited about a Microsoft Android AOSP build with all its services Al-LA Amazon Kindle devices. maybe then it makes sense. But until then when the hardware shortcuts and voice wake-up features take me to google by default. I will use Google.

  10. glenn8878

    There's millions of PCs and Xboxes. Just develop a mic dongle to enable people to use Cortana. No one will buy a separate Microsoft device to run Cortana especially with a piss poor ecosystem that no one uses.

  11. JerryH

    I wish it worked better. I've been all in on Google Home for quite a while. I originally got two of them right when they came out. A couple of weeks ago I got two more to cover the house well (large house). Knowing about the limitation it originally had of one account I had setup a completely new Google account for it that had access to nothing from the family's real accounts except for access to Google Play Music / YouTube Red so we can cast stuff. We get a lot of use out of it with things like this:


    "Hey Google, play Jackie Grad Party on Downstairs Group" (starts playing a playlist on a big stereo and a portable speaker)

    "Hey Google, shuffle this playlist" (turns on shuffle play)

    "Hey Google, play The Key of Awesome A Tribute to Ridiculous Voices from YouTube on Living Room TV" (plays the video)

    "Hey Google, play Leverage from NetFlix on Living Room TV" (plays the next Leverage episode)


    We started doing home automation with it combined with a SmartThings hub too. When I left for work this morning - "Hey Google, turn off all the lights in the kitchen" as I headed out the door and it said "you got it. turning off two lights". This stuff works really well.


    I was quite excited for the multi user support and - with some trepidation about potential security issues - I added my normal Google account to it yesterday and walked around to the devices giving them the required voice training. It seemed to work on all of them. It would correctly answer the test phrase "Hey Google, What's my name?" Then my wife got home from work. I started telling her about it and she said she heard about it already on the radio on the way home. Excitedly, I showed her how it works using the test phrase, "Hey Google, what's my name". And it didn't work. It had no idea who I was about three hours after I trained it. Oh well, maybe it will get better. It is still really useful for sending stuff to Chromecast and Chromecast audio devices, home automation, and of course quick answers to questions.

  12. captobie

    I don't get this whole Assistant craze. I don't like talking to my computer, I don't like talking to my phone (sorry, Siri), and I certainly don't want to talk to some tube.

  13. ponsaelius

    Cortana is really only at an optimum feature set in the USA. For the rest of the world it's... a bit behind.


    Not only are Google and Amazon racing ahead in the consumer space they release globally. Consumers are somewhat of a second class citizen of the Microsoft ecosystem.

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