If you’ve ever heard Issa Rae’s voice in your head during an awkward moment in life, here’s some good news: Now, you can have the gift of her wisdom any time you want.
The comedian, writer and producer is the new voice of Google Assistant, joining singer John Legend as one of the service’s limited-time celebrity voice cameos.
Like other virtual assistants, Google Voice Assistant can aid with everything from questions about the current weather to delivering motivational messages.
“I was in talks to do this last year and was just really intrigued, like, ‘What? They want my voice? Why?’” Rae, the star of HBO’s “Insecure,” told CNN. “Then, you know, I realized that I use Google Assistant frequently anyway and just thought about how cool it would be to do.”
Rae said she went through “a pretty intensive process” that involved her spending many hours in a recording booth, “saying various sentences that did not make any sense” and “so many words that I have never ever pronounced before.”
“I’m just so used to reading them. So you’re like, ‘Oh, I’ve never actually had to say this word out loud,’” she said. “It was unique. I’d never done anything like that before.”
A paranoid person would, perhaps, have apprehensions about having hours of their voice recorded and virtually stored, seeing as how far less material has been used for nefarious purposes in countless crime television shows and movies. This suggestion made Rae laugh, but she admitted, “yes, definitely those thoughts crossed my mind.”
“I mean, you’re just always scared,” she said, another amused laugh escaping. “But, no, I was very much assured by the Google team that this was all in fun and several conversations were had to make me feel comfortable doing it.”
In order to access Rae’s voice, users need only say, “Hey Google, talk like Issa,” or go to the Assistant Settings on their device.
Her voice is available in English in the US on any device that has the Google Assistant, including Android and iOS phones, smart speakers and Smart Displays.
Rae said she plans to be among those to try out her voice, if only once.
“That is the million dollar question for me,” she said, when asked if she would be heeding her own words regularly. “I don’t know if I’ll use it consistently, but I definitely will try it out.”
Above all, she said, “I’m excited that I get to be helpful to people.”