The Google Assistant is now bilingual, understanding two languages at once

The Google Assistant is now bilingual, understanding two languages at once

Google uses IFA 2018 to announce the Assistant's new language abilities

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Recognizing how bilingual households often switch between two languages during daily conversation, Google has taught its Assistant how to do the same.

Announced this week at IFA, Europe's largest technology show, Google Assistant's new bilingual skills mean it can understand any two of the following languages at once:

  • English
  • German
  • French
  • Spanish
  • Italian
  • Japanese

You still have to say the 'hey Google' or 'okay Google' hot-word in English to get the assistant's attention and make it start listening, but after that you can use any two of the above languages. Google says it will be "expanding to more languages in the coming months."

The Google Assistant is currently the only commercially available assistant with these bilingual skills, giving the edge over rivals like Alexa, Siri, Bixby and Cortana.

Buy Google Home and Home Mini on Best Buy.

For example, Google suggests how you can ask the Assistant "what's the weather like today?", then immediately ask for your favorite German hip hop band by saying: "Hey Google, spiele die Fantastischen Vier."

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The Assistant's new bilingual abilities work across all devices, including smartphones, smart speakers like the Google Home range, and the new range of Smart Display devices.

Johan Schalkwyk, VP at Google Speech explained how teaching the Assistant to become bilingual "was not a simple feat", adding: "In fact, this was a multi-year effort that involved solving a lot of challenging problems."

Google began working on teaching computers to recognize the use of multiple languages back in 2013.

Looking to future capabilities of the Assistant, Schalkwyk said: "We also want to make life a little easier for trilingual users, or families that live in homes where more than two languages are spoken."

Check out The GearBrain, our smart home compatibility checker to see the other compatible products that work with Google Home and Home Mini.

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