Is Google assistant really becoming smarter and wiser? Increase of voice searches in 9 languages
This article will take you through the latest updates Google Assistant has been through recently and also everything else that is in pipeline for Google Assistant in near future. This article also talk about the emerging trend of creating socially aware artificially intelligence.


Do you know that by 2020, 50% of searches will be voice searches? 

Also by 2019, the voice recognition market will be a $601 million industry.

There is a crucial paradigm shift taking place in the world right now. We are reaching new peaks of information technology and artificial intelligence. It all started with Google introducing its ‘Okay, Google’ feature back in 2011 which evolved into Google Assistant in 2017 and has only seen upwards since then. Recently, it has got another update that we are going to talk about today. 

 Recently, Google Assistant has received an upgrade that most of us are very eager to know about but before delving into that detail it is important that we take a trip down the memory lane and understand Google Assistant. Google Assistant has been part of every Google and Android device ever produced. Google Assistant helps user feel free to give it voice commands instead of typing them on screen. Even though the inspiration had come originally from apple’s infamous Siri, but the recent integration of Google’s Voice Assistant feature into world’s best search engine devices is a feat that most competitors did not see coming. Even IPhone can now have IOS version of Google Assistant on them!

What is new about the update?

 Yesterday Google launched a new voice for Google Assistant in 9 countries, namely:

  1. Germany
  2. France
  3. Netherland
  4. Italy
  5. Korea
  6. Japan
  7. Norway
  8. England
  9. India

Now Google has exceeded a total of 30 languages by introduction of Dutch, German, Norwegian, French, Italian, Korean, Japanese and English in India or UK. The idea is to promote reach for services offered by Google by introducing timely updates. 
Fun Fact: Google already has 11 voices only for English, and one of them is the musical voice of John Legend.

Now people from these 9 countries can have a personalized experience by setting up their Google Assistant in their native language. Previously, the voice assistant sounded predominantly like males however with the recent update the new voice is neither male nor female. 

Gender Neutral Voice

While for some this may not seem like a big deal but with growing influence of gender equality and equal representation, introduction of a gender neutral voice gives out a clear statement from Google. It clarifies its stance on the subject of equal representation of all genders. 

Google Playing Safe

With the aspect of gender equality dealt strategically, Google was left with naming voices it had introduced – instead of adopting the conventional techniques of labelling voices as it had been done in the past Google flipped the ball right out from its court by labelling voices after colors instead. By doing this it could ever be dragged again into a discussion that had to anything with racism.

It is important to note here that last year Google had to deal with major racist incidents or as it came be called ‘algorithms biases’. Back in 2015, Google photo recognition labelled a black computer programmer as ‘gorilla’. Google’s hard luck, or deliberate carelessness led St. Louis executive publically call out Google for translating Turkish. A gender neutral language into predominantly sexist translation.

Google will refer to voices by color. One may be red and the other may be orange. The colors and the order they are presented in will also be random. One can imagine the pains Google must have endured while producing such neutral application. 

You can check out whether your phone has got the recent update by asking now:

If you have received the update you will hear a gender neutral voice. 

11 voices for English

With recent update there are going to be 11 total dialects in which Google Assistant will be available for English speakers. This changes everything. In past we have seen people complaining about Amazon Alexa being unable to recognize different dialects that created an uproar from users on social media. Allowing 11 different voices allows the user to personalize their experience. It correctly depicts the diverse nature of population of USA. 

More on Google

It is important to note here how changing social dynamics are widely affecting technological advancements. Google started with a female sounding voice, so did Siri by Apple while Amazon Alexa followed in their footsteps using a heavy male voice – but through and through we have seen Google trying to personalize AI experience by introducing new updates. 

Due to the growing interaction between software and humans, many parents were concerned about their children being raised in an artificial and nonchalant environment – ordering Google Assistant like software to fulfill their demands without ever realizing that world is indeed not a wish granting factory. 

Keeping this concern in mind Google came up with the feature of “pretty please” in May, this feature aims at instilling politeness in children when they are engaging with Assistant. Social awareness and commitment towards making this world a better place to live is every corporate company’s responsibility and Google is looking to standby it. 

In Conclusion 

Whether this new feature is a hit or a miss that only time can tell, however it can make up for a good topic for an argumentative essay online. Political and social correctness continues to make amends in the world of technology every day which shows us how far we have come as a race. 

While you are still here, here is a little peak into what lack in voice recognition meant for this toddler that Google Assistant is trying to eradicate in its software so it can be better than it’s competitors. 

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post