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Voice

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Google is rolling out 'voice remote' in YouTube TV

Some Google apps get new features tied to updated versions, but others seem to spawn new things at random intervals when Google deems it appropriate. YouTube TV is one of the latter, and today's new feature is "voice remote." You don't need an app update, but you also can't access voice remote yet unless you are chosen by the Google.

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How to remove your Google voice search history and opt out of future collection

Google's speech recognition technology is insanely good - perhaps the best in the industry. But did you know Google stores all your voice searches? Every time you say "Ok Google" or "Hey Google," a snippet of audio containing the command is sent to the company's servers, where it is deciphered. These audio snippets are stored indefinitely (to improve accuracy), unless you delete them and opt out of future collection.

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Cool, but scary: New Google AI tech can isolate a single voice in a crowd

It's hard enough for us to keep track of who's talking in a loud or crowded party, imagine how difficult it is for automated systems to follow. Speech recognition at a reasonable quality is really only something that's been mastered in the last decade or two, add in conflicting sounds as people talk over each other, and an already tricky problem becomes much harder.

Fortunately (or unfortunately) for us, researchers at Google have been working on isolating sources of audio like speech in videos, and the results they showed off yesterday are kind of incredible and simultaneously terrifying.

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[Update: Beta now live] Google Voice recruiting testers for new Wi-Fi (or mobile data) calling feature

For mobile users juggling a bunch of different devices, Google Voice can be something of a godsend. Not only does it let you share a single point of contact through which people can reach you no matter which phone or tablet you're carrying at the moment, but it does so without requiring the party on the other end to install a specific app — everything travels over regular voice calls and text messages. While that's great for compatibility, there are a number of reasons why you might not want to rely so heavily on the voice-call network, from running low on your monthly minute allocation, to difficulty finding a reliable cellular signal.

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Google Voice v5.9 prepares voicemail greetings to be recorded in-app [APK Teardown]

Good things are happening with Google Voice. While the app normally stays fairly quiet, the last few months have shown a lot of positive attention is going into the service. The surface-level changes in this update aren't too major, but a teardown shows that users will soon get a vastly improved voicemail system that features on-device recording and support for multiple messages.

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Waze adds new Chinese voices to celebrate the Chinese New Year

Waze is a pretty popular navigation app, even among Google diehards. In fact, Google actually bought Waze way back in 2013 for a little over one billion dollars and uses some of the data sourced by Waze in Google Maps. For many people who drive for a living or just happen to be on the road a lot, Waze's extra features when compared to Google Maps are something they just can't live without.

Today, in celebration of the Chinese New Year, Waze has announced that it's bringing improved Mandarin (both in Simplified and Traditional Chinese) voices to its app.

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[Update: Official changelog] Google Voice v5.7 prepares to enable VoIP directly within the app [APK Teardown]

Google has been dabbling in the realm of Internet-based calling for years. First it was Gmail, then Hangouts got in on the action. While there were ways (and even third-party products) to use the Google Voice service for VoIP, it was probably the least enjoyable calling experience we've seen that didn't involve MacGyver-style shorting of exposed wires to dial a number. Now an update to the Google Voice app reveals that it's finally going to make its VoIP capabilities an official feature, and it'll be usable directly from your phone without any hacky workarounds.

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Google's new text-to-speech system sounds convincingly human

Get ready for the little person living inside your phone and speaker to sound a lot more life-like. Google believes it has reached a new milestone in the quest to make computer-generated speech indistinguishable from human speech with Tacotron 2, a system that trains neural networks to generate eerily natural-sounding speech from text, and they have the samples to prove it.

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SMS support for Hangouts officially ends today, excluding Google Voice and Project Fi subscribers

Today is the day that Hangouts finally loses SMS support. We were warned by Google about it months ago when Hangouts started showing a warning that it would no longer support the feature. But, as of today, it's finally set to happen. For anyone who isn't on Project Fi or Google Voice — both of which will continue to support SMS in Hangouts — this is the end of an era.

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Ecobee announces the ecobee4 with Alexa, you can pre-order it now for $249.99

Lately, we've seen the Ecobee3 smart thermostat go on sale a few times, and now it seems obvious why. Ecobee has announced its new smart thermostat, fittingly named the ecobee4. This time around, the thermostat has Alexa built-in, so you can talk to it to change the temperature (or do anything else Alexa can do).

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