How To Change OK Google to Something Else
Microsoft has Cortana, Amazon has Alexa, Apple has Siri, and Google has, well, Google.
Rather than come up with a human name for its assistant, Google went with the no-nonsense name of “Google Assistant” for its AI assistant. You address Google Assistant by saying “Hey Google” rather than the more personable “Alex” or “Hey Siri” approach.
Others might say that the product’s name lacks imagination, but there’s certainly no lack of functionality in the Google Assistant service itself. The Google Assistant is a pure software tool that offers a lot of features, such as the ability to launch programs on your computer or smartphone, start TV shows or music playlists, even to dim the lights in your house or turn various appliances on and off. You can use your voice to communicate with friends and family, give you travel directions, plan your next trip, set alarms and reminders, translate languages, and so much more. The possibilities and functionalities are endless!
If you want to see a comprehensive list of all the OK Google commands, check out this TechJunkie article: An Almost Complete List of All Okay Google Commands?
Despite the many things that Google Assistant can do, it cannot make major changes in its voice-activation command. Google will let you set it to “OK Google” or, on some later devices, “Hey Google”.
For whatever reason – probably a branding decision made by marketing – the company wants you to have to say its name before the Assistant will do anything for you. Having people repeat your company name many times per day is clear branding but not necessarily all that much fun for the Google Assistant users.
Fortunately, the very nature of Google’s software architecture is that it is hackable and modifiable, and so what Google hasn’t added as features, third parties eagerly took the opportunity to add functionality to Google Assistant.
By the use of additional software, you can change your Google Assistant voice activation phrase to be anything you want. In this article, I will show you the various methods of doing this, and walk you through each of them.
By the time we’re done, Google Assistant will be dancing to your tune rather than the default one.
There are two main methods for changing the “wake up word” or name of Google Assistant.
The first method involves using Mic+, an application that works pretty well but is no longer being developed as of this writing.
The second method we discuss involves changing your Google Assistant’s name using the Autovoice app. This second approach (described further down in this article) is probably better than the first approach but we’ll provide you instructions on how to use both.
Can you give Google Assistant a Name?
Yes, and the first thing to do to enable these methods is to make sure that you have the latest version of the Google app installed on your smartphone.
Once you have the latest version of Google installed, you can proceed. Again, we’ll start by showing you how to change the “wake word” for Google Assistant with Mic+ and then we’ll show you how to do the same thing with Autovoice (probably the better approach). Let’s get started!
How can I rename my Google assistant Using the Open Mic+ App?
Open Mic+ is an app that supplements the Google Assistant, adding a variety of features such as offline voice recognition and integration with Tasker, an extremely powerful Android automation system.
We at TechJunkie wrote an informative article covering 5 of the Best Tasker profiles for Android Automation.
For our purposes today, however, we’re most interested in the feature of Open Mic+ that lets you replace the voice command used to activate the Google Assistant.
Step 1: Mic+
For Open Mic+ to work, you have to disable the hotword detection in Google Now. This is easy to do, although Google has done its best to hide the required functionality deep inside its forbidding and quasi-random user interface hierarchy.
- Activate your Google Assistant by saying “OK Google” or long-pressing the Home button.
- Press the compass icon in the lower right-hand part of the app to access the Explore menu.
- Tap your profile button on the top right part of the app and select Settings.
- Select the Assistant tab.
- Scroll down to the Assistant Devices section at the bottom and tap on your smartphone or other devices you wish to configure.
- Toggle the “Access with Voice Match” setting to off.
Step 2: Mic+
Next, launch the Open Mic+ app. Open Mic+ is no longer available on the Google Play store, but Open Mic+ for Google Now is still available through Amazon.
Make sure you have installed the Amazon Store App before you can download the Open Mic+ app.
Open the Open Mic+ app, and you’ll see the start screen. Tap on the preferences sliders to open the settings dialog.
Once into the preferences screen, tap on “Hot Phrase”, and then type in the phrase you want to use going forward.
You might want to resist the temptation to get too cute with this; making your phrase something like “Hey Baby, Did I Turn You On?” is funny when you’re at home alone, but maybe less funny when your boss asks you to look something up on your phone at work. Also, too long a phrase might be amusing at first but will get old fast. Keep it short and sweet, something you can live with even when you’re stressed and in a hurry.
When you’re done typing the new phrase, just tap on the “OK” button. Hit the return button in the upper left corner to exit preferences.
Step 3: Mic+
You should now see a big green button labeled “Start”. Tap that and leave it running, and you can say your chosen hotword instead of “OK Google” and your Google Assistant will be right there, ready to take your voice command.
How do I Change Google Assistant’s Wake Word using Tasker and AutoVoice?
Open Mic+ works…most of the time. Unfortunately, the app is not in active development at this time, and it’s possible that it won’t install or won’t run properly on your phone.
A more reliable method of changing your Assistant hotword is to download and install the very popular Tasker app. Tasker isn’t free; it’s $2.99, but honestly, it’s the best $2.99 you will ever spend if you use your phone a lot.
Tasker handles all kinds of tasks. It automates everything from settings to photos. It allows you to customize over 350 actions, and when loaded with the right plugins, it can let you change your Google Assistant hotword.
Once you’ve downloaded Tasker, you will also need to install the AutoVoice app from the same developer. This download is free but AutoVoice is ad-supported.
Step 1: AutoVoice
First, you need to go to your “Settings” and then choose “Accessibility”. In the list of options, find “AutoVoice Google Now Integration” and “Tasker” and toggle the switches next to those entries to enable the functionality.
Step 2: AutoVoice
You need to link your AutoVoice app to your Google account. Fortunately, the Google Assistant can do this for you.
- Activate the Google Assistant.
- Say “Talk to AutoVoice”.
- The Assistant will tell you that your account is not linked, and will ask for permission to link the accounts. Tap “Yes”.
- If you have more than one Google account, a selection dialog will come up asking you which account to link; choose the account you use on this phone.
- The Google Assistant will complete linking AutoVoice to your account.
Step 3: AutoVoice
Open the Tasker app, tap on the plus sign, and then add “Event”. From the list of options, select “Plugin” and then choose “AutoVoice” and “Recognized”. Click the edit button next to “Configuration” and then tap “The Hard Way”.
Tap “Speak Filter”. You’ll be prompted to speak your new command phrase. Tasker may ask you to clarify what you said by presenting a list of its best guesses; select the one that you actually said.
A dialog will come up allowing you to name the task; you can skip this if you wish.
Tap the “Play” button to run your task, and you should now have a voice command that opens the Google Assistant.
Note: A hat tip to TechJunkie reader Brandon Bjorke who helpfully noticed that we had glitched out an entire section of the walkthrough – and our apologies to anyone who tried to get this to work with only about a third of the instructions in place!