John Legend’s voice is leaving Google Assistant: Try it while you still can

A couple of years ago, Google promised it would launch celebrity Google Assistant voices, called “cameo voices”, and John Legend’s voice emerged shortly later as the first one. Thanks to Google’s DeepMind artificial intelligence and the speech synthesis model WaveNet, Google easily sampled and realistically replicated Legend’s speech, thereby cutting down on studio time required for the artist.

He can sing you a happy birthday and answer a range of other questions. But it’s not a full-fledged voice. The default Google Assistant may kick in for some responses. Still, it’s pretty cool, especially if you’re a fan. Unfortunately, cameo voices, Legend’s included, have an expiration date.

Google announced you have until 23 March to use Legend’s Google Assistant cameo voice. If you want to enjoy it before it’s gone, here’s how. 

How to try John Legend as a Google Assistant voice

There are two ways you can do this:

  1. Ask Google to turn on John Legend’s voice. Just say, “Hey Google, talk like a Legend” or “Hey Google, make me a Legend.” This works if you own a device where Google Assistant is always listening, such as a Google Home. But if your device doesn’t have always-on Assistant enabled, launch Google Assistant (long-press the Home button or press the Assistant button on your phone) and say “talk like a Legend”.
  2. Select John Legend’s voice via the Google Assistant app. Open the Google Assistant app on your device, then tap the button with three dots, and tap Settings. From there, tap Preferences, then tap “Assistant Voice”, and make your selection.

Note: You can turn off the cameo voice from settings in the Google Assistant app.

What can John Legend’s voice do?

John Legend’s voice is a cameo appearance – hence the name. It’s not used for every request. But you can say certain things to hear his voice in a Google Assistant response. Here are a few examples, along with some easter eggs:

John Legend will answer these questions:

  • “Do I need an umbrella today?”
  • “How do you cook bacon in the oven?”
  • “How far away is the moon?”
  • “Is there an atmosphere on the moon?”
  • “Is Venus the same size as the Earth?”
  • “What are jazz hands?”
  • “What’s the temperature outside?”
  • “Why is the sky blue?”
  • “What’s the weather?”

John Legend Google Assistant easter eggs:

  • “Are you John Legend?”
  • “Compliment me.”
  • “Do you know Chrissy Teigen?”
  • “How are you?”
  • “Serenade me.”
  • “Sing Happy Birthday.”
  • “Sing me a song.”
  • “Tell me a joke.”
  • “What’s your best pickup line?”
  • “What’s your favorite song?”
  • “Who’s your celebrity crush?”

Are there other Google Assistant voices?

Yep! There’s an Issa Rae one.

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