Published: Sat, February 24, 2018
Tech | By Constance Martin

Google takes Assistant worldwide with new languages and custom phone integrations

Google takes Assistant worldwide with new languages and custom phone integrations

Meanwhile Google is also encouraging a more baked-in Assistant experience with device-makers, with the formalization of the Assistant Mobile OEM program. This includes helping people learn more about their plan, add new services (like worldwide data roaming), get customer support and more.

What's more, Google Assistant will soon be able to understand and speak multiple languages at once. The support will be available in Assistant on both Android and iPhones and Google will expand language support over the coming months. Currently, while you can switch the language the Assistant will recognize, you can only speak to it in one language in any given session. This feature will first be available in English, French and German, we're told, with additional languages set to be added over time.

Language is an area where Google lags behind Apple's Siri, which can already speak 20 languages (including Mandarin and Cantonese, which Google cannot) and in some cases several dialects of each - for example, Siri speaks nine English dialects. This is an expansion of what Google has been helping OEMs with over the a year ago in creating device-specific commands with the Assistant. While the capabilities were first unveiled in 2017, Google announced the availability of Routines in a Friday blog post.

In the coming weeks, Google Assistant will be updated with routines and location-based reminders. Starting over the next week, we're adding two new features that help you use the Assistant across all the devices in your life.

So when you walk into your home and say, "Hey, Google, I'm home", the digital assistant cannot only turn on the lights, but also start playing music, share some important reminders, and more.

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As we head into Mobile World Congress, the mobile industry's largest trade show, we're sharing more about how we're working closely with the mobile ecosystem to bring the Assistant to more people around the world. Google has much more say in how its digital assistant is built into smartphones than Amazon does.

Lastly, the company revealed plans to increase the number of languages that Assistant supports to 30 by the end of the year.

As part of the same effort, Google will also work with carriers to help them similarly integrate their services into Assistant.

Specifically, Google Assistant is adding support for six routines aimed at tackling tasks in the morning as you're trying to get out the door, during your commute to and from work, and upon your arrival back at home. However, the biggest take from it all was the fact that Google Assistant will soon have new integrations for Android OEMs like LG, Sony, and Xiaomi.

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