Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 23rd Feb 2018 23:48 UTC
Google

Android users are all around the world, so from the start, our goal has been to bring the Assistant to as many people, languages, and locations as possible. The Assistant is already available in eight languages, and by the end of the year it will be available in more than 30 languages, reaching 95 percent of all eligible Android phones worldwide. In the next few months, we’ll bring the Assistant to Danish, Dutch, Hindi, Indonesian, Norwegian, Swedish and Thai on Android phones and iPhones, and we’ll add more languages on more devices throughout the year.

We’re also making the Assistant multilingual later this year, so families or individuals that speak more than one language can speak naturally to the Assistant. With this new feature, the Assistant will be able to understand you in multiple languages fluently. If you prefer to speak German at work, but French at home, your Assistant is right there with you. Multilingual will first be available in English, French and German, with support for more languages coming over time.

This is a decent improvement, but progress on the multilingual front is still quite slow. I understand this is a hard and difficult problem to solve, but if this issue was in any way related to increasing ad revenue, Google would've cracked it 5 years ago.

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RE: I can never use it...
by ahferroin7 on Mon 26th Feb 2018 14:26 UTC in reply to "I can never use it..."
ahferroin7
Member since:
2015-10-30

Personally, I think this insistence on naming voice assistants in an effort to humanize them is a bad idea. I don't want to have to say half a dozen different things walking into a random room to just get the smart switch to turn on the lights. Google at least isn't trying to sound more like it's a person you're talking to when you give it a command, but as far as I'm concerned 'OK Google' is just as bad as any of the other predefined trigger phrases out there.

The whole tech industry doesn't seem to understand why the voice interface for computers in Star Trek (which had a not insignificant influence on early designs) is such a great thing. It's not because of what it can do, it's because the interface absolutely consistent. Even ignoring the universal translator being involved, the trigger phrase translates trivially across all languages and is the same regardless of who made the system.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: I can never use it...
by avgalen on Tue 27th Feb 2018 09:16 in reply to "RE: I can never use it..."
avgalen Member since:
2010-09-23

It's not because of what it can do
I would argue that it is ;)

it's because the interface absolutely consistent. Even ignoring the universal translator being involved, the trigger phrase translates trivially across all languages and is the same regardless of who made the system.

Are you sure that there are multiple, simultaneously active, manufacturers of the star trek interface? Because it looks like a big monopoly to me.

The thing that the current voice interfaces lack is voice-recognition. My wife and I cannot say "read my my email" and receive our personal emails. And we cannot block our childrens voices from "play Cars/Frozen on the tv on infinite loop"

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: I can never use it...
by ahferroin7 on Tue 27th Feb 2018 12:36 in reply to "RE[2]: I can never use it..."
ahferroin7 Member since:
2015-10-30

I would argue that it is.

What it can do is significant, but the fact that it's so insanely easy to do makes it much more significant.

It wasn't improved processing power that made computers ubiquitous in our world, it was incremental improvements to the user interfaces that allowed people without significant scientific knowledge to use them that made them ubiquitous.

Are you sure that there are multiple, simultaneously active, manufacturers of the star trek interface? Because it looks like a big monopoly to me.

At a minimum, there appear to be at least two distinct manufacturers, as the USS Voyager encounters a ship during S4E20 ('Vis a Vis') which uses the same style of command and control vocal interface that Federation ships do, but was built by a species which had no prior contact with the Federation (and actually has more advanced technology in a couple of respects. There's also significant circumstantial evidence in Deep Space 9 that the Cardassians have developed the technology independently of the Federation (Chief O'Brien regularly comments about the difficulty of integrating Federation and Cardassian technology, which would seem to imply that the same device could not be dropped in in either situation and still work reliably).

One could theoretically argue that the universal translator is sufficiently telepathic that it can infer meaning unambiguously, and that's the o9nly reason that any of this is so consistent, but that opens up a whole other can of worms.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: I can never use it...
by zima on Tue 27th Feb 2018 18:37 in reply to "RE: I can never use it..."
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Well, but let's not forget that the voice interface in Star Trek is primarily about making actors... act; to be entertaining to the audiences...

Reply Parent Score: 2