google assistant logo

Google Assistant on your Nest or Home smart speaker or display won’t work very well if it can’t understand what you’re saying. If there’s someone in your life with a particularly complex name to pronounce, Assistant might struggle with it. Here’s how to tell it how the name sounds.

Typing in a person’s name doesn’t tell Google Assistant how that name is pronounced. This can be frustrating when you’re trying to use commands with the name. Thankfully, you can recite the name out loud to teach Assistant how it’s pronounced.

RELATED: Google Assistant Is Getting Better at Understanding What You Just Said

First, we’ll open Google Assistant on your smartphone or tablet. On Android devices, this can be done by saying “OK, Google,” or by swiping in from the bottom-left or -right corner.

Swipe in from the bottom-left or -right corner to launch Google Assistant on Android

With an iPhone or iPad, you can tap the Google Assistant app from the home screen. Swipe down on the home screen to use Apple’s Spotlight Search feature if you can’t find the app.

Open the "Assistant" to open Google Assistant on iPhone or iPad

Next, sign in to your Google account (if you haven’t already), and then tap your profile icon to open the Assistant menu.

Navigate to You > Your People, or scroll all the way down to the bottom of the list and tap “Your People.”

select "Your people" from the menu

Select someone from your contacts list whose name you want to teach to Google Assistant.

select a person in the list of contacts

You’ll see a “Name Pronunciation” section. You can tap “Play” to hear how Google says the name by default. select “Record Your Own” to say it yourself, or choose “Spell Out How it Sounds & Record” to spell it out phonetically.

Select "Record Your Own" or "Spell It Out"

After you say the name or enter the phonetic pronunciation, you can tap “Play” to hear Google Assistant say it again, hopefully correctly this time.

tap "Play" to hear the name pronounced

Google Assistant should be much better at understanding the person’s name going forward. Do this for anyone who Assistant has a hard time with.

RELATED: How to Get Birthday Reminders From Google Assistant

Profile Photo for Joe Fedewa Joe Fedewa
Joe Fedewa is a Staff Writer at How-To Geek. He has been covering consumer technology for over a decade and previously worked as Managing Editor at XDA-Developers. Joe loves all things technology and is also an avid DIYer at heart. He has written thousands of articles, hundreds of tutorials, and dozens of reviews.
Read Full Bio »