Multilingual Google Assistant to add more than 20 languages to its repertoire

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Ahead of MWC 2018, Google has laid out its forward plans for Google Assistant on iOS and Android smartphones, announcing that it aims to bring the ever-present assistant to more than 30 languages by the end of year, as well as rolling out updates that make Google Assistant instantly multilingual and capable of responding in different languages.

At the moment, Google Assistant is available in eight languages, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, and Portuguese (Brazil), and Google’s plans would see that total expand to over 30, with Google claiming that the coverage would increase to 95 percent of Android users. Since that’s a pool of 2 billion users, that’s a heady boast. Users can expect to see updates that add Danish, Dutch, Hindi, Indonesian, Norwegian, Swedish, and Thai in the coming months — on both Android and iPhone devices — while the rest of the planned updates will come throughout the rest of the year.

Other plans include the ability to make Google Assistant multilingual, so if you speak more than one language or live in a multilanguage household, then Google Assistant will soon be able to detect the language you’re speaking and respond quickly and fluidly. According to Google, it will be even able switch between languages for a single user, perfect for people who use different languages throughout the day, and also useful for anyone learning another language.

But it’s not all about software updates. With the mobile world gathering in Barcelona next week for Mobile World Congress, Google also took a moment to reflect on the progress of making hardware more compatible with the Google Assistant package. While Google’s own Pixel range obviously supports the Assistant, support for phones from other manufacturers requires a close working relationship with Google. Google has been working closely with some manufacturers for the last year, in an initiative it calls the “Assistant Mobile OEM program,” which should help manufacturers to introduce helpful features like activating “OK Google” while the screen is off, and introducing device-specific keywords. While there has been no timetable given for those plans, we should expect innovations from LG, Sony Mobile, and Xiaomi to be coming soon.

Also tied into those improvements is a closer relationship with network carriers like Sprint, Koodo, Telus, and Vodafone. Google wants to let users find out more about their current plans from their Assistants, hinting that users may soon be able to add services to their plans, get support, and more.