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Some Google products will disable “Hey, Google” commands during meetings


The lettering "Hey Google" on the Google pavillon at the CES consumer electronics show in Las Vegas in 2018. These words activate Google Assistant, Google's virtual personal assistant.
Enlarge / The lettering “Hey Google” on the Google pavillon at the CES consumer electronics show in Las Vegas in 2018. These words activate Google Assistant, Google’s virtual personal assistant.

Andrej Sokolow/picture alliance

Voice assistant hot words are nice when you need them and annoying when they go off accidentally. For Google, maybe a valuable signal for disabling a hot word is when you have a meeting scheduled?

Google is launching a new feature for Google Meet Hardware that will disable the “Hey, Google” hot word during a meeting and 10 minutes before. Google says, “We’ve heard from our customers that due to the increase in teams transitioning to hybrid meetings, the “Hey, Google” control can unintentionally be triggered during meetings. We hope this improvement helps reduce any accidental disruptions during your calls.”

Google isn’t yet smart enough to disable “Hey, Google” commands across all your devices, just “Google Meet Hardware.” These are custom Internet appliances specifically built to do room-scale Google Meet video calls and combine speakers, microphones, cameras, and smart displays. They’re primarily geared for corporate meeting rooms where one device connects the whole table to a video chat.

Some Google Meet hardware, namely the "Series One Medium Room Kit." The speaker bar and camera get mounted at the front of your corporate meeting room.
Enlarge / Some Google Meet hardware, namely the “Series One Medium Room Kit.” The speaker bar and camera get mounted at the front of your corporate meeting room.

Google

Having the “Hey, Google” hot word go off on Google Meet Hardware would be particularly disruptive since that device is currently running the meeting. Having the Google Assistant pop up during your meeting and possibly muting the speakers while it listens for a command would be a significant interruption.

There’s no word on whether support for this will be coming to the bevy of other Google devices that 1) know about your meeting and 2) have hot word support, but the Google Meet Hardware sounds like a good start.



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