by Jennifer Allen on
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Google Home has supported two stacked voice commands for a while, and now it’s upping that limit to three. Just, cross your fingers and hope it works.
As discovered by Android Police, Google is rolling out smarter command recognition that can (in theory) handle up to three commands. Previously, the smart hub could handle two commands, but only if they were structured very carefully. For example, you could say “Turn on the lights in the living room and turn on lights in the kitchen,” which is a terribly awkward way to phrase that request.
This new update adds a couple of tweaks. For starters (and most helpfully), Google can more intelligently interpret your stacked commands. To continue the example above, you could now say “Turn on living room lights and kitchen lights.” In my experience, Google had a hard time with the command if I didn’t specify “lights” for each one, but I could leave out the extraneous “turn on,” which sounds more natural.
Additionally, Google says that its voice assistant speaker can support up to three commands at once. It’s possible this functionality is still rolling out, but in my early testing I could not get Google Home to recognize more than two. The problem could be one of phrasing. Simplifying commands makes it easier to trip Google up (a machine might have a harder time telling if “living room and kitchen” is two devices, or just one really long name for a single light group), so stacking three commands together increases the odds that Google won’t be able to parse it. That being said, it’s possible Google’s only rolling support for three commands out slowly and it’s not available for everyone yet.
Even if Google hasn’t quite nailed the multitasking perfectly, this update is a solid improvement. When Google Home launched, you had to issue each command individually, with an “Ok, Google” in between each one. Now, “Hey google, turn off living room and set a timer for ten minutes” works just fine. Progress is progress.
As a side note, I’ve also learned in testing that if you ask Google to control a smart home gadget that it doesn’t recognize enough times, Google will now send you a notification on your phone prompting you to set up any new gadgets you have, with a handy link to the portion of the Google Home app where you can do this. In this case, Google was simply misunderstanding my intent, but it’s a nice touch for users who may not have all of their smart home gizmos set up properly.
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