Google Assistant will soon understand almost two dozen more languages

24 February 2018, 04:59 | Myrtle Hill

The Google Home Mini. Chris Monroe CNET

The Google Home Mini.                  Chris Monroe  CNET

In addition to more language support, Assistant will become multilingual too.

Finally, Google announced today that more languages are gaining support in Assistant this year (more than 30, actually). Once done, you can just say "Hey Google, Good Morning" and Assistant will run the pre-defined actions which in this case will be telling the commute time, weather and the news for the morning. It looks like Google has been doing even more work with its digital assistant lately by adding support for Routines, location-based reminders, an easier way for OEMs to integrate it and support for more than 30 languages by 2019.

While Alexa now operates only in English, Google Assistant works in eight languages and the new initiative expands that. The latter is straightforward and has been working on your phone for a while but will be available "in the coming weeks" from your Google Home and other Assistant speakers. Microsoft Corp., for instance, recently launched a research initiative focused on enabling its rival Cortana service to carry out multistep commands even when they're not set up in advance like Google Assistant routines. While the capabilities were first unveiled in 2017, Google announced the availability of Routines in a Friday blog post.

Non-Google handsets - that it, any Android which isn't a Google Pixel - will soon be able to hear the "hey Google" or "okay Google" command while their screens are off.

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Speaking of reminders, in the coming weeks, you'll also be able to set location-based reminders using your smart speaker. This new feature will help you take care of several tasks with a single command.

The program allows device makers to build deeper integrations between the Assistant and device features. The first three languages available for multilingual users will be English, French and German with more to be added as the year progresses. Two of those have new smartphones lined up for the forthcoming Mobile World Congress, hence it's possible we might get a glimpse of these Assistant features there. After Google's teaser that new Android One and Go phones are coming at MWC next week, now we have a new announcement from the Google Assistant team and it's a big one. Importantly it's cross-device capable: you can tell your Google Home to remind you to call the insurance company when you get to work, and the Assistant on your phone will flag that up when you get to the office.

Of course, the Google Home smart speaker stays in one location itself - but it can be used to create the location-based reminders you want to be alerted about later on your phone.

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