Skip to main content

Google Assistant may be saying bye-bye to 'Hey, Google'

Google Nest Hub Max
(Image credit: Google)

"Hey Google" may soon be a thing of the past for some Google device owners.

A teardown of a Google app by 9to5Google (opens in new tab) has revealed a big update that will reduce the need and use of its familiar wake word “Hey Google” to bring up its Assistant on multiple devices. 

Different “custom quick phrases” are being added to the Nest Hub Max that don’t require the need to say the hot words to carry out certain commands. This will make it easy to give commands to the smart home hub without prefixing “Hey Google” every time and will go beyond the preset phrases Google has recently added.

Quick phrases are a popular feature that were introduced with the Pixel 6 last year and gives Google Assistant the ability to listen for certain key words beyond “Hey Google.”  For example, the tech giant added quick phrases like “turn up the volume,” “what time is my alarm set for'' and “create a reminder” to the Nest Hub Max. 

Custom quick phrases will let users pick and choose their own commands apart from these presets. 

9to5Google mentions the feature's code name is “Salsa” right now and it will come with some limitations. Google mentions that “there are a few rules to make sure these [quick phrases] work well, and you will be guided if there are any issues.” This could mean that users will not have a free hand at picking just any custom phrase and it will probably have to fall under a specific category like music, smart lights or others. This is speculation of course and it is not clear how the feature will work exactly — but it looks like it will be available to set up under the Quick phrases settings page.

This snappy feature is very useful on smart speakers that don't require the need to repeatedly say the catch phrase to change songs, turn up the volume or even pause music. With more quick phrases and customizable ones, the Nest Hub Max will get very handy to use with this big update.

Quick phrases on the Pixel 6, Pixel 6 Pro and the Pixel 6a give users the option to “Stop” or “Snooze” alarms or a timer and “Answer” or “Decline” incoming calls. A potential update will also bring a way to “Silence” calls too. The upcoming Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro are also expected to get quick phrases and we will have to see what smarts Google plans to give its new Pixels at the upcoming October 6 event.    

Sanjana Prakash
News Editor

Sanjana loves all things tech. From the latest phones, to quirky gadgets and the best deals, she's in sync with it all. Based in Atlanta, she is the news editor at Tom's Guide. Previously, she produced India's top technology show for NDTV and has been a tech news reporter on TV. Outside work, you can find her on a tennis court or sipping her favorite latte in instagrammable coffee shops in the city. Her work has appeared on NDTV Gadgets 360 and CNBC.