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A Smarter Google Assistant to Offer 6 New Voices

Google Assistant becomes smarter, to get six new voices

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Google's new Search feature gives single result to certain queries. Pixabay

Making the competition in Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered assistants space tougher, Google on Tuesday announced that people will soon have a choice of choosing from six voices, including one of musician John Legend, to talk to “Google Assistant”.

At its annual developer conference Google I/O, the company said these six options, which feature both male and female voices, would be rolled out later this year.

Company CEO Sundar Pichai said that Google has been working on newer and more life-like version of its spoken AI that features natural voice that is “closer to how humans speak.”

The improvements include more natural pauses “that have meaning” and other subtleties to help create a “more natural dialogue” with Assistant.

This new version of the Assistant is built on a tech machine learning technology called Wavenet, which the company started building out some 18 months ago.

Now instead of having to say “Hey Google” or “OK Google” every time to give a command, users only have to do this one time and then have a conversation with the Assistant.

Google calls this feature “continued conversation” and it’ll roll out in the coming week.

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Google. Pixabay

The new powerful Assistant can now distinguish between two sentences that are joined by “and” and can reply with two different query-specific answers in one go.

The tech giant wants to bundle its voice assistant into every device and app and is bringing Google Assistant in Google Maps. It’ll be available on iOS and Android this summer.

Users can now share estimated time of arrival with their contacts without touching the device.

Further, the Assistant would soon be able make calls for you to make reservations at restaurants or salons.

It would also teach children to use polite language when interacting with the Google Assistant’s “Pretty Please feature. When kids say “Please” during a command, they would receive thanks from the virtual assistant in response.

Google says that “Pretty Please” feature would launch later this year.

The company also brought Assistant-powered Smart Displays. These devices would be launched in July.

Also Read: Google CEO Sundar Pichai on Tech: ‘Deep Responsibility to get This Right’

Pichai also showcased a revamped Gmail and announced another new feature called “Smart Compose,” which will help users write emails using machine learning technology.

As you type, Smart Compose pops up suggestions about what you might want to write next – similar to Google autocomplete.

“As the name suggests, we use machine learning to start suggesting phrases for you. All you have to do is hit tab to keep auto-completing. In this case, it understands the subject is ataco Tuesday.’ It takes care of mundane things like addresses so you can focus on what you want to type,” Pichai explained. (IANS)

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Tech Major Google Abandons its Tablet-making Efforts

For Google-made hardware, the company is now focusing its roadmap on the Pixelbook family of laptops moving forward

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A Google logo is displayed at the entrance to the internet based company's offices in Toronto. VOA

Confirming that there would be no upcoming sequel to its Pixel Slate, Google has seemingly abandoned its tablet-making efforts and focus mainly on making laptops.

“Hey, it’s true. Google’s hardware team will be solely focused on building laptops moving forward, but make no mistake, Android and Chrome OS teams are 100 per cent committed for the long-run on working with our partners on tablets for all segments of the market (consumer, enterprise, edu),” Rick Osterloh, Senior Vice President of Devices and Services tweeted on Thursday.

However, the company would still support the existing Pixel Slate devices.

“We will fully support Pixel Slate for the long-term as well,” Osterloh added.

The Google Pixel Slate was first announced in October 2018 and was later launched last November at a starting price of $599.

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A man walks past a Google sign outside with a span of the Bay Bridge at rear in San Francisco, May 1, 2019. VOA

Even though it had a nice display and support for a mouse and trackpad, CNET found it to be pricey in comparison to the Chromebook and to tablet competition. It was also heavy and had buggy software, the report said.

According to a Computerworld report, affected employees from the tablet division in Google have been reassigned from developing tablets to laptops.

Also Read- Uber Incorporates Several Changes to its App for Drivers to Improve their Experience

For Google-made hardware, the company is now focusing its roadmap on the Pixelbook family of laptops moving forward.

“For Google’s first-party hardware efforts, we’ll be focusing on Chrome OS laptops,” CNET quoted a company spokesperson as saying. (IANS)