Is Google Assistant bilingual?
Less than a decade ago when virtual assistants were introduced in devices such as laptops and phones, they were criticized for not being able to properly recognize the user for many reasons such as accent, speed, etc. Half the words we spoke wouldn’t even be recognized by the system and it relied on using the most common words in the English language, meaning no slangs. But overtime companies have refined their AI software to overcome such adversities and increased the number of functions these softwares can perform without the need of anything but vocal inputs. One of the leading companies in the AI race is Google with Google Assistant
Google Assistant is a voice controlled assistant that is found on all major Google products such as speakers and smartphones, and can be downloaded on your phone as an app. Now with a new update, Google is making it smarter by adding bilingual support
This means, that now when you ask a question to Google Assistant, it will automatically recognize the language you are speaking in, and respond back in the same language. Up until now, the user had to go into the settings to select a single primary language, and could only use the service when talking to it in that same language. If you wanted to talk to Google Assistant in another language, you had to go back into the settings and readjust it.
How does it work?
The way it works is that Google has implemented a new language-identification model, called LangID, which runs as soon as you start talking. While you are talking, the software is interpreting which language you are speaking between the two presets which you select, while at the same time trying to get ready to perform the task. This happens simultaneously to make sure that the assistant is fast with its task and the user isn’t kept waiting too long. LangID also remembers the frequency of which language is spoken more often and for which tasks, so that it can speed up its processes even more with higher accuracy.
Why it’s important for Google
Though this new feature may not be a standout for everyone, it’s a QoL improvement for multilingual people. With expanding on new languages, Google can tap into new markets and countries with their products that support Google Assistant and attract a broader audience. As more and more countries are getting access to fast internet speeds, having an advantage like this can be a big offset between Google and other brands. Not only that, this also puts Google one step ahead of the competition with Alexa and Siri. As the fight is getting tougher with increased intelligence between these virtual assistants, companies are constantly looking to add new features to outpace the competition and attract new audience. In the future we should expect all assistants to be multilingual capable without having to select any presets. Eventually, while the differences may become stagnant, minor nuances may be all it takes for a customer to decide which assistant to go with.