Focusing on regional language support, Google has revealed some new features for its popular Google Assistant. During the fourth edition of 'Google for India' event, Google announced the addition of Marathi for Google Assistant. Google also plans to expand support for seven more Indian languages including Bengali, Tamil, Telugu, Gujarati, Kannada, Urdu and Malayalam, in the coming months.
Currently, Google Assistant is available in English and Hindi language for phones. For using Google Assistant in Marathi, a user will have to set the device language to Marathi and long pressing the Home button will trigger the Assistant in the same language.
During the keynote, Pravir Gupta, Director of Software Engineering, Google Assistant, says, "India loves the Google Assistant. In fact, Google Assistant usage has tripled in India since last year. Google Assistant has answered over 100 thousand cricket related queries in India."
Other than supporting more Indian languages, the Assistant has become even smarter. Instead of manually changing the language, using Machine Learning, the Assistant can now automatically understand the different languages and responds in the same language in which the question has been asked. Currently, it can seamlessly switch back and forth between Hindi and English, making conversations much more natural. Google Assistant is accessible on smartphones as well as a select feature phones too.
Google also aims to improve the user experience of the Assistant by bringing new actions to the Assistant on feature phones and Android Go devices. For this Google is integrating with Indian services such as Where Is My Train, Airtel, and Hello English, to the Actions on the Google platform, which already supports thousands of India specific Actions. For instance, the 'Where Is My Train' Action will help one in learning the current status of the train using the train number. Google Assistant will give a real-time update of when the train is expected to reach the nearest station. Airtel Action, on the other hand, can be helpful for the Airtel subscribers as it can pull up a range of information about their cellular account. For instance, it can show the last recharge, the left-over balance and even more. Hello English can be helpful for those looking to enhance their spoken English skills. This Action will help users learn English from Hindi, with their Google Assistant as their teacher. The experience is divided into simple lessons, to quickly enable the user to get started along the journey of learning English, anytime, anywhere.
Google also stated that starting today, in addition to English, businesses and developers will be able to build Actions in the Hindi language as well by viewing actions.google.com. With no coding required, Google claims that actions can be built in less than 15 minutes.
Google is not just focusing on the voice assistant for phones but is bringing Hindi language support for its recently launched smart speaker Google Home.
Rajan Anandan, VP, India and Southeast Asia, Google, explains, "Voice has been emerging as the preferred mode of use for new internet users. We're seeing major growth of voice queries in India."