Names are important, and it's infuriating when you're trying to send a text or make a phone call and Google Assistant mispronounces or simply doesn't recognize a contact. We want the Assistant to correctly recognize and pronounce as many people's names as possible, especially those that are uncommon.
When it comes to setting and changing timers with your voice, Google Assistant is getting a better way to correct its name pronunciation, as well as improved contextual awareness.
If the Assistant has been incorrectly pronouncing your name, there is a new way to try to correct it: simply say your name aloud, and Google will attempt to learn the pronunciation. The old method, which is still available to those who want it, required you to spell out how you wanted your name to be pronounced.
If you want to try it out for yourself, go to Google Assistant settings, then Basic Info, then Nickname. It's worth noting that you can't completely separate your text name from the pronunciation.
Google is also incorporating more contextual awareness into timers by utilizing its language understanding technology known as "BERT." In practice, this should enable a slew of new features: the capability to say “cancel my second timer,” and canceling named timers without having to use the exact name that you gave (the example Google uses in its video is canceling a timer called “boiled potatoes” by saying “cancel my boiling potato timer”).
According to Google, this type of natural conversation should be coming to more areas of the Assistant in the near future. For the time being, it appears that the majority of the work is being done around timers, but who knows where it will lead?