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There’s finally a way to stop Google Assistant speaking out of turn

New sensitivity setting aims to prevent the assistant from mistakenly hearing, 'Okay Google'

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While it's useful having the Google Assistant nearby. inside a smart speaker or display, and always ready to answer questions or control the smart home, the voice assistant can often get confused.

All too often, the Assistant will think it has heard the, 'Okay/Hey Google' wake word, then burst into life, answering a question that wasn't asked, then listening for a response when it shouldn't.

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Thankfully, Google has begun rolling out a software update to help fix this issue. First spotted by XDA Developers, the new option is buried inside the Device Settings menu of the settings pages of the Google Home app. It lets Google Assistant users adjust the sensitivity of a smart device's ability to hear its wake word.

Adjust the slider from least to most sensitive changes how responsive the Google Assistant of a certain device is to you saying "Hey/Okay Google." Least sensitive means you have to speak more loudly and clearly to get the Assistant's attention, while most sensitive will have the Assistant fire into life when spoken to quietly.

Google announced the new feature back in September, so it has taken quite a while for it to arrive (and was likely delayed in the final stages due to coronavirus lockdown). It is also being rolled out to users gradually, so even if you have the latest version of the Google Home app, you might not see the setting right away.

We hope this helps reign in the false-positives we see with our own Google Assistant devices. We're also glad to see the setting can be adjusted for each device you own, so the Google Home in your quiet bedroom will keep working as normal, while the Nest Mini next to the television (where it regularly hears its name by mistake) can have its sensitivity turned down.

Check out The GearBrain, our smart home compatibility checker to see the other compatible products that work with Google Assistant enabled devices.

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