When Google TTS Works but Google Assistant Does Something Else

I have been increas­ing­ly astound­ed at how often Google Assis­tant will cor­rect­ly tran­scribe a voice com­mand to text using text-to-speech, and then despite hav­ing the cor­rect com­mand, com­plete­ly ignor­ing the com­mand and doing what­ev­er it wants to do instead. Google has made cer­tain that it is not pos­si­ble to improve their prod­uct by giv­ing feed­back or report­ing fail­ures. Mes­sage boards where sup­port staff main­tain a pres­ence rou­tine­ly take a blame-the-user or poor-voice-map posi­tion and pro­vide users with tone-deaf and use­less advice that waste user’s time and effort.

As such, I think it would be amus­ing to cat­a­log exam­ples of times when I’ve told Google Assis­tant to “do this please” and Google Assis­tant replies, “I under­stand per­fect­ly what you’ve told me to do, and now I’m going to do some­thing com­plete­ly unre­lat­ed, use­less, and wrong instead.”

Keep in mind that Google Assis­tant is pro­mot­ed as a hands-free safer alter­na­tive to min­i­mize dis­tract­ed dri­ving. A dri­ver scream­ing at his phone to do as it is told is far more dis­tract­ed than one who’s cor­rect­ly heard voice com­mand is followed.

As this will be a work in progress, I’ll fig­ure out an attrac­tive way to list these errors as we go along.

  • What I say, “Hey Google [pause for beep] divide one-hun­dred and two dot eight one by three.”
  • What appears as text “Divide 102.81 by 3”
  • Google Assis­tan­t’s Response: [dis­plays soft­ware cal­cu­la­tor] “The answer to one divid­ed by three is point three three three three three.”

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