Google said in its blog post that its Artificial Intelligence (AI) based personal voice assistant Google Assistant will be available in 30 languages by end of this year, including Hindi, reaching almost 95 percent of all Android devices globally.
The search giant added that it is making the “Assistant multilingual” which means that Assistant will be able to understand you in multiple languages fluently. For instance, if you prefer to speak German at work, but French at home, your Assistant will be able to interact with you in both. The multilingual feature will first be available in English, French and German, with support for more languages coming over time. Google will incorporate a new multilingual mode on Assistant as well, allowing families that speak two or more languages to converse with it naturally.
Why is Hindi important?
Adding Hindi in its Assitance is essential for Google, as India has about 234 million Indian language users who are online (compared to 175 million English web users) and it is expected that another 300 million Indian language users will come online in the next three years, Google had shared this data while announcing that it is adding Tamil language content in its targeted advertising platform Google AdWords and its monetisation platform Google AdSense.
Note that, Google has been focusing on its Next Billion Users team, and it is important for the company to add more Indic language capabilities, as the new Internet users in India predominantly interact with Indian language content.
Google has been focusing on India for a while now. In October last year, it added support for Bengali language content in Google AdWords and Google AdSense. Prior to that, it added 8 Indian languages – Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, and Urdu – to voice search. This voice-based dictation and search feature is available on Gboard on Android, in search using the Google app, and via Google’s Cloud speech API. In July 2017, Google Maps became bilingual by default in some Indian cities, including Delhi and Kolkata (among those that we were able to check), while cities like Pune remained English-only. Before that, Google launched its keyboard Gboard in 22 Indian languages, including Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Odia, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu. The keyboard supports both language keyboards and transliteration into native languages.
More features on Assistant
Google Assistant also get two new features – Routines and Location-based reminders.
Routines: Announced last year, Routines helps assistant users to get multiple things done with just a single command. In the coming weeks ( in US only), users will be able to use six routines regarding morning, commutes to and from work, and evening at home. For example, say “Hey Google, I’m home” and the Assistant on your Google Home or phone can turn on the lights, share any home reminders, play your favourite music etc
Location-based reminders: In comming few weeks, Google will enable is location-based reminders on Google Home devices. The location-based reminders were enabled on smartphones as of now. This will allow users to set reminders over the smart speakers as well.
Working with device makers
The company said that it is working closely with device makers (OEMs) to bring all the capabilities of the Assistant to life on Android phones. And the Assistant will have new integrations in LG, Sony Mobile, and Xiaomi phones.
Google’s products and services, all of which integrate the Google Assistant: the Pixel phone, iPhone, Android phones with Lollipop version and above, Google Home, along with supported devices like Chromecast. More on Google Assistant and its link with devices here.