Why Multiple Voice Recognition is Important to HomePod's Core Music Functionality

Posted by Matt Birchler
— 2 min read

How to Prevent Other HomePod Users From Affecting Your Apple Music Recommendations - Mac Rumors

If you're concerned that other people in your household will skew your Apple Music recommendations by using HomePod to play songs that don't align with your tastes, then there's a setting you'll want to disable as soon as possible.

Some will argue that I've been too hard on the HomePod when it comes to voice functionality. I don’t think I have been unreasonable, but let’s say that I have and we should just judge the HomePod based on its ability to be an awesome music player.

The MacRumors article walks you through turning off the HomePod’s ability to learn your music tastes as you listen to music. It will still use what it has learned from you when listening on your iOS, Android, Mac, or Windows devices, but HomePod listening will not play a factor. This is not ideal for a product that is described as a “musicologist” by Apple, a device that will learn about you and give you music you like.

Which brings me back to why multiple voice recognition is so important in a device like this. If the Homepod could differentiate my voice from my wife’s, then at a minimum it would be able to tune my musical preferences only when I ask it to play something. My wife could ask it to play something as well, but it would not impact my recommendations. I would be considered the “owner” of the HomePod and everyone else would be “someone else.”

Taken a step further, it would be able to recognize multiple voices, so I would be “Matt” and my wife would be “Beth.” We have an Apple Music family plan, so we share an account, but we each have different tastes and our apps reflect that. If I asked for a song, that should affect my profile only, if she asked for a song it should affect her profile only, and if any other voice asked for a song it would play it but not change the recommendation engine at all.

This is why the core features of a voice assistant are important to everyone, not just nerds so they can turn on their toasters or set reminders on their personal todo apps. Even if the HomePod is only being judged as a music player, a large portion of its success is based on Siri’s ability to be a good interface. I’ll have more hands on information later today on how it works in practice, but things like this are definite areas where we already know the HomePod has room to grow.