The virtual assistant race has three big names: Google, Amazon, and Apple. In the mobile department, Google reigns. In the smart speaker landscape, Amazon tops. In both, Apple is trying to catch up — can it, though? Especially now, with Google having made its service even smarter?
Google's intelligent virtual assistant is receiving a bunch of crucial language-focused updates this year. By the end of 2018, Google claims it'll be able to understand and speak a whopping 30 languages, which covers 95 percent of Android users around the globe.
Google Assistant Gets Multilingual Features
More amazing is the fact that Google promises Assistant to soon understand languages seamlessly. Say that a user talks to it in English. It will then respond to the command in the language of their choosing. But if for some reason they begin speaking another language, Assistant will adjust — it'll understand the new language spoken and even respond using it. For multilingual people, this is a fantastic feature. For those who aren't, it's just cool, representing a future where there's less communication barriers between people and their technology.
That's a world Google actually wants to see, as proven by its commitment to translate language on the fly with its Pixel-branded answer to Apple's AirPods, which, while reviewers say is severely underwhelming, has a lot of promising features underneath. The Pixel Buds aren't perfect, yes, but it still highlights Google's attempt to innovate communication, even if that attempt doesn't land smoothly at times.
Google Assistant To Have 30 Languages By The End Of 2018
At its current state, Google Assistant supports eight languages, including English, German, Japanese, and others. That means throughout the year, Google will add 22 more. But 30 isn't the stopping point, according to Assistant product lead Nick Fox, but that number is enough for Google to be able to say that Assistant has "really gone global."
The ability to seamlessly use multiple languages and have Assistant still understand what the user is saying is a huge improvement, needless to say. At its current state, users have to tinker with the settings to be able to speak in a different language, meaning that they were stuck with using just one at a time.
The question is whether a time will come when Assistant can pick out different languages in the same sentence, like, say, when a person peppers their sentences with a few French phrases. It's also worth mentioning that the multilingual schtick will only include English, French, and German initially, but more will come.