Google Assistant goes truly global, with multilingual support, Routines and deeper OEM integrations
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Google’s hardware partners might be willing to wait for the actual start of MWC 2018 to unveil the first wave of simple and ultra-affordable Android Oreo (Go edition) phones, as well as a few new Android One devices, but the search giant is jumping the gun on some of its own Barcelona announcements.
In addition to a whole bunch of new languages, which we knew were coming, Google Assistant is also getting other upgrades meant to consolidate its “ecosystem approach” on mobile devices.
Available in English only just a year or so ago, the Android and iOS-compatible virtual personal assistant already supports seven more languages, aiming to reach a grand total of 30 by the end of the year to serve a whopping 95 percent of “all eligible Android phones worldwide.”
Danish, Dutch, Hindi, Indonesian, Norwegian, Swedish and Thai support for both Android handsets and iPhones will be added “in the next few months”, with “more languages on more devices” set to follow suit “throughout the year.”
But that’s not all Google is working on in the linguistics department, as families and individual users that speak more than one language will soon be able to carry a natural conversation with the Assistant. “Multilingual” capabilities are coming in English, French and German first, allowing you to switch between the three at any time without fear of running into a language barrier with your Google Assistant.
Meanwhile, the Routines feature unveiled last year is ready to roll out “in the coming weeks in the US”, letting you use six routines to “help with your morning, commutes to and from work, and evening at home.” For instance, you can simply say “Hey Google, I’m home”, and a predefined set of actions will be initiated.
Last but certainly not least, Google is announcing the Assistant Mobile OEM program, enabling device manufacturers like LG, Sony and Xiaomi to build “deeper integrations” between the Assistant and features specific to non-Google phones. Various mobile carriers around the world are also partnering with the search giant to expand the AI’s versatility. Sprint, Koodo, Telus and Vodafone are the first to actively develop Assistant integrations, with many more “coming soon.”