Two Googles in a room...

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Voice-ac­ti­vated smart prod­ucts are com­ing at such a rate that we soon be­gan won­der­ing what would hap­pen when we had two or more of them in the same space. Here we had the op­por­tu­nity to try, with the JBL Link 10 sat right next to the Google Home, shar­ing the same power point, the same Wi-Fi. You can’t change the key word for a Google de­vice — it’s ‘Hey Google’ or ‘OK Google’, and you can’t change it to ‘Hey JBL’, so there’s no way to talk to one with also ad­dress­ing the other*.

Will they both re­ply in uni­son? No they won’t. Some­where be­tween your key word, the send­ing of your speech over­seas to Google’s com­put­ing farms and the de­liv­ery of the gen­er­ated re­ply, Google has noted the du­pli­ca­tion of de­vices and erad­i­cated it. Which one gets to re­ply? In our sit­u­a­tion it was the Google Home every time at first; the JBL showed it was re­ceiv­ing the com­mand, but did noth­ing un­less we spec­i­fied it as a tar­get for mu­sic. But then later it switched, and the Link took over. Last one used? No. Near­est? Ap­par­ently yes, if you’re much closer to one than the other. Google, it seems, may li­cense out its Voice As­sis­tant, but given a con­flict, it doesn’t in­sist on win­ning.

*Ex­cept­by­mut­ingth­emi­cro­pho­ne­o­fo­ne­ortheotherus­ingth­e­but­ton­theyeach­haveon­the­back.Bothde­vices con­firmthe­op­er­a­tionbyvoice,and­show­fouro­r­ange­light­sas­aper­ma­nen­trem­inderoftheird­eaf­ness.

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