Last September, Google briefly described an upcoming Assistant feature that would help reduce unintentional hotword activations. Introduced as a privacy measure, you can tune how sensitive Smart Displays and speakers will be to “Hey Google,” with the feature now rolling out.

Original 4/21: According to The Verge, the “Hey Google” sensitivity setting is starting to “roll out gradually.” It will let you “raise or lower this device’s sensitivity to make it more or less responsive to” the hotword.

Sometimes, Google Assistant might activate when you didn’t say “Hey Google” or “Ok Google.” This can happen when it detects something that sounds similar. If this happens often, you can make it less sensitive.

Also, Google Assistant might not activate when you say “Hey Google” or “Ok Google,” particularly in a noisy environment. If this happens often, you can make it more sensitive.

We first enabled the new setting directly within the Google app’s Assistant preferences this February. XDA today also showed it available from Device settings — under the “More” menu —  in version 2.21 of the Google Home client.

On the new settings page, you’re presented with a simple slider with three increments. To the left of “Default” is “Least sensitive” and to the right is “Most sensitive.” The latter option is useful in noisy environments, while those living in smaller areas will benefit from the former to make sure only the device closest to you picks up.

The device you’re controlling is shown above, along with the room it resides in. This page notes how “your device’s sensitivity may change over time as Google makes updates to improve quality,” while only the primary account can make setting changes in the case of shared devices.

Update 4/23: More details have emerged about Hey Google sensitivity today. For starters, it will be available in the “coming weeks” for Smart Displays and speakers set to English. To access:

  1. Open the Google Home app Google Home.
  2. At the bottom, tap Home Home.
  3. Select your speaker or Smart Display.
  4. At the top right, tap Device settings Settings and then “Hey Google” sensitivity.
  5. Choose how sensitive you want Google Assistant to be when it responds to you.
  6. To change this setting on another device, tap Adjust more devices.

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Abner Li

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