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Hindi second-most used ‘Assistant’ language globally: Google

PTI
Published : Sep 20, 2019, 4:23 pm IST
Updated : Sep 20, 2019, 4:23 pm IST

Last year, Google had said its voice-based assistant had received about 4.5 lakh proposals for marriage in India.

Tech companies like Google and Amazon are betting on vernacular languages as reports suggest that 90 per cent of new internet users in India are native language speakers. (Photo: File | ANI)
 Tech companies like Google and Amazon are betting on vernacular languages as reports suggest that 90 per cent of new internet users in India are native language speakers. (Photo: File | ANI)

New Delhi: Hindi has emerged as the second-most used language globally on Google Assistant, the tech giant’s artificial intelligence powered assistant, behind just English, according to the tech giant.

The company, which has been working on supporting Indic languages across its products like Search, Lens and others on its platform, said it will soon make Google Assistant available in Hindi on all Android TVs.

“Since introducing the Assistant in India nearly two years ago, we’ve introduced Hindi and 8 additional Indic languages...We’re thrilled to share that Hindi has become the second most used Assistant language globally after English across many types of devices in India...coming soon, the Assistant will also be available in Hindi on all Android TVs,” Google Vice President, Product Management, Manuel Bronstein said.

He added that Indians have been using “the power of voice” to do a variety of things like finding information to help with homework, getting train schedules, among others.

Interestingly, last year, Google had said its voice-based assistant had received about 4.5 lakh proposals for marriage in India.

While Google didn’t share the number of people using Assistant (which competes with Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa), it said the product is available in over 30 languages across 80 countries.

Google said starting today, users can talk to Assistant in Hindi by simply saying “Hey Google, talk to me in Hindi” across all Android, Android Go and KaiOS devices. Previously, users needed to activate Hindi language support from the settings option.

Tech companies like Google and Amazon are betting on vernacular languages as reports suggest that 90 per cent of new internet users in India are native language speakers.

This makes it imperative for these tech companies to offer rich experience in local languages in India that is witnessing strong growth in internet usage as well as consumption of connected devices.

On Wednesday, Amazon had announced that users in India can now speak to its voice assistant Alexa in Hindi to carry out tasks like checking cricket scores, requesting songs and even asking how she’s doing.

Launched in India in 2017, Alexa was able to understand and pronounce names of popular places, names and songs in regional languages like Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Marathi and Punjabi but supported commands only in English. It had also hinted at support coming in for other Indic languages.

Apart from Assistant, Google is adding more Indian languages to its other products.

Discover, its news feed app launched last year, will soon support Oriya, Urdu and Punjabi. Google Lens, which allows people to search for information, ask questions and translate text by pointing their phone’s camera at things, will now support Tamil, Telugu and Marathi as well.

Its Bolo app, a speech-based product that helps children learn how to read, will support Bengali, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu as well now.

“Bolo has already helped 800,000 young Indians read stories more than three million times and speak half a billion words. We are working with partners like Saajha, the Kaivalya Education Foundation, Pratham Education Foundation and Room to Read, and looking forward to making it available to even more Indian families,” Google Director of Marketing (Southeast Asia and India) Sapna Chadha said.

Tags: google, assistant, hindi, vernacular languages
Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi
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