Google splits search and AI operations as ex-division chief joins Apple to reboot Siri

Apple is looking to step up its AI efforts with the help of Google’s former machine learning and search division head, while the search giant is splitting the two operations and promoting a couple of veteran employees.

Google Assistant in Hindi is rolling out to Android phones running Marshmallow and above

It’s now easy and natural to get things done for native Hindi speakers on Android phones running Marshmallow, Nougat or Oreo without using their hands, thanks to Google Assistant.

Google Assistant can basically do anything in TV ads starring John Legend, Sia and Kevin Durant

To prove how serious an Alexa and Siri competitor it’s already become, Google Assistant has booked several A-list celebrities to highlight its strengths.

Google Assistant goes truly global, with multilingual support, Routines and deeper OEM integrations

Google is making an early MWC 2018 start, unveiling a whole bunch of Assistant upgrades, including new languages, Routines, and a dedicated Assistant Mobile OEM program.

Alexa loses her voice only to find a new one in star-studded Amazon Super Bowl ad

Amazon appears to have subtly revealed in a Super Bowl commercial starring an army of celebrities that Alexa is getting a new, warmer, more natural voice.

Apple patent foreshadows whispering Siri capabilities for privacy protection

Siri could soon gain the ability to recognize whispers and whisper back in response to privacy-concerned users, according to a 2016 Apple patent filing.

Samsung reportedly wants its Bixby smart speaker to launch in H1 2018 at around $200

Reportedly put on hold a little while back, Samsung’s (not so) secret Bixby smart speaker project is advancing, eyeing for a launch in 2018’s first half.

Google Assistant can now speak to you in a male voice dubbed ‘Voice II’

Those concerned with AI gender equality should be happy to hear Google Assistant speaking in both female and male voices now.

Nvidia Shield TV scores long-promised Google Assistant support, other Android TVs next

Google Assistant is adding Android TV set-top boxes and smart TVs to a list of voice-enhanced devices including phones, watches, speakers and headphones.

Amazon wants to put Alexa on a pair of normal-looking smart glasses next, rumor has it

Amazon’s consumer hardware ambitions could expand from tablets and smart speakers to smart glasses soon, all powered by the Alexa voice assistant.
Samsung Bixby

You can (partially) disable the Galaxy S8 and Note 8’s Bixby key now with no workarounds

Samsung is probably never going to allow official Bixby button remapping, but at least you no longer need tricks to limit accidental AI activations.

Microsoft and Amazon forge unlikely alliance to bring Cortana and Alexa skills together

Starting later this year, Amazon Echo users will be able to talk to Cortana through Alexa, with Microsoft’s voice assistant also supporting its arch-rival.

The Rock teams up with Siri to ‘dominate the day’ in epic new commercial (Full video)

With Cortana, Google Assistant and Alexa rising fast, Siri stays in the limelight starring alongside The Rock in this “crazy fun commercial.”

Lenovo’s bold new AI-powered concepts include a virtual assistant, SmartVest and AR headset

Lenovo seems to think it can build a more interactive smart speaker than the Amazon Echo someday, as well as a “context aware virtual assistant.”

Samsung indefinitely delays Bixby China launch, smart speaker project also put on hold

Samsung’s Bixby digital assistant isn’t going many places after finally adding English voice support for the US, at least not according to new reports.

Google Assistant goes after Bixby in Korea, Samsung’s AI likely to debut US voice support next week

The voice assistant wars are about to go global, with Google Assistant beta tests underway in Korea and Bixby’s proper US launch closing in.

Samsung just bought a text-to-speech company to presumably help with its Bixby smart speaker

Samsung’s latest acquisition likely targets the progress of its Bixby assistant and an AI-powered smart speaker, which need all the help they can get.
Samsung Bixby options

Samsung has Bixby smart speaker in the works, but the AI’s English voice progress is still slow

Samsung still has big plans for Bixby, the oh-so-promising digital assistant that’s so slow to roll out, reportedly cooking up its own smart speaker.

Samsung kicks off Bixby Voice rollout for US Early Access Program members

Samsung’s half-baked Bixby digital assistant finally gains voice capabilities stateside, but only as part of an Early Access Program.

Essential Phone starts shipping within the month, brand-new ‘proactive’ assistant in tow

Of course Andy Rubin has his own new digital assistant prepped to run on the Essential Phone, but will it be ready by the end of June?

At least 750K Turing Phone Appassionato units will be distributed in China starting this fall

Following TCL, another relatively high-profile Chinese company offers its support for the Turing Phone Appassionato to reach stores this year.

Microsoft signs HP and Intel to help with Cortana devices, AI’s Skills Kit now open to more devs

Forget the Surface Pro 5 or Windows phones. Microsoft seems fully committed to make Cortana its next big thing, with public skills and HP devices.

Alexa can show you things and make video and voice calls on Amazon Echo Show with touchscreen

The touchscreen-sporting Amazon Echo Show is just as unattractive as expected, but it’s also affordable and extremely versatile.

WhatsApp takes Siri integration to the next level by adding the ability to read messages out loud

In a mutually beneficial move, Facebook and Apple have joined hands to greatly improve Siri support for WhatsApp.
Samsung Bixby

It’s already no longer possible to remap Galaxy S8’s Bixby button for easy Google Assistant launch

Looking forward to receive your pre-ordered Samsung Galaxy S8, and reprogram its side Bixby button for Google Assistant use? Forget about it.