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Whispering Far Field

It’s night time, the whole house is sleeping, and you want to use your Echo or Google Home to turn off the lights? It’s like that there may be millions of people who are dealing with this scenario.

There are a few issues:

  1. Dealing with wake word when you need to be quiet
  2. Picking up a whispering voice.
  3. Ensuring a non disturbing response

For the first, the good news is that there usually isn’t a lot of noise to counter. One way to get the Echo or Google Home to pick up whispers better to add a loud whisper as one of the training samples.

For picking up a whispering voice, it seems Google edges out Amazon here. The shear number of samples that Google has of people whispering into their phones also the Home to perform better (anecdotally) .

However, for Item 3 — this is where both fall flat. It would be good for these devices to automatically reduce volume at night or at least according to the ambient noise. Maybe we’ll see some dynamic responses in the coming months.

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