During last year's Super Bowl, Amazon ran an ad that imagined what would happen if Alexa lost her voice and stars like Cardi B and Rebel Wilson had to step in. This week, Google gave its own assistant the voice of a real celebrity: John Legend.
Users of Google Assistant-enabled devices can summon Legend with a simple command: “Ok Google, talk like a Legend.” The musician’s silky, seductive voice will then speak, although at times, in slightly choppy, robotic fashion.
We tested it out and asked him to tell us a joke:
“Where does a general keep his armies? In his sleevies.”
Then, we asked about the weather:
“It’ll be cloudy there tomorrow, with a high of 65 and a low of 52.”
Regular “who is” queries about several people and characters (Martin Luther King Jr., Donald Trump, Mickey Mouse, Jane Goodall, Agatha Christie) yielded standard, abbreviated Wikipedia entries.
Same happened even when we asked “Who is John Legend?” or “Who is Chrissy Teigen?” :
“According to Wikipedia, Christine Diane Teigen is an American model and author…"
But changing up the question a bit delivered a cute Easter Egg:
“Ok Google, do you know Chrissy Teigen?”
“Chrissy Teigen is a talented author, a wonderful, wonderful woman, a great mom, a great wife. I like her a lot. In fact, I love her.” His popular song, “All of me,” then kicks in.
And when you ask Google to sing you a song, that’s a treat too.
Legend is Google’s first celebrity cameo voice and will be available for a limited time, in English, in the U.S. The brand noted that cameo voices have been one of users' most popular requests. The Legend assistant is powered by WaveNet, a deep neural network that creates raw audio waveforms and apparently can produce more life-like speech than previous techniques.