Ask LH: Can Google Answer My Questions In An Australian Accent?

Hey Lifehacker, Is there an Australian or British voice that can be used to give answers from Google on my Android phone? I appreciate the technology of a human-equivalent voice being used to provide answers when I ask a question, but sometimes the North American accent is unclear in its pronunciation of some words. Cheers, Down Under

Photo: Paramount Pictures

Dear DU,

Google Voice Search for Android phones does not currently include an Australian accent. However, it's possible to change the accent to British which is a lot closer to our own dialect (and less gratingly American).

To change the accent, simply go to the settings on the Google Now/Voice Search app and click on Voice > Language > English. This will bring up a Language Dialect window: select the "English (UK)" box. You will now receive answers to your spoken queries in a posh totty accent reminiscent of Emma Peel from The Avengers.

Make sure the "English (Australia)" box is still ticked though; otherwise the voice recognition software may fail to understand certain phrases and words. If the app only lets you select one dialect at a time, you'll need to download the latest version, which supports up to five languages/dialects simultaneously.

In fact, you can even keep the US Dialect enabled and the voice will automatically respond with the accent that most closely resembles your own:

On a related note, you may want to download a third-party text-to-speech app on Google Play which will replace the default voice on your phone. As far as we know, it's not possible to integrate these apps with Google Voice Search, but they will work in most other situations, including turn-by-turn voice navigation, spoken online content and a range of virtual assistants.

One option worth considering is IVONA's "Nicole"; a female voice that speaks in Australian English. It's currently still in beta and free to download. Another mobile voice specialist that is pretty well regarded is SVOX: they also do an Australian English version. It costs $2.99. For more options, search the Google Play store for "tts Australian".

If anyone knows how to make Aussie TTS apps override Google Voice, let us know in the comments section below.

Cheers Lifehacker

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Comments

    I've been using Ivona's Nicole for a few years, and I really like it. She uses a voice in the frequency range that is more audible while driving. The US voice is more high pitched and is that ugly nasal twang that they use over there.
    Sadly, Nicole no longer seems to work for me in Navigation, Google Now, Voice Search or any of my other maps.
    I too would like to find a solution to override Googles settings.

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