Friday January 18, 2019
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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
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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Google Planning to Develop a New Publishing Platform For Local News Publishers

According to Google, in Asia-Pacific, journalists and publishers are increasingly grappling with questions over how quality journalism can thrive in the digital age

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Google
Google creating publishing platform for local news publishers. Pixabay

To help small newsrooms overcome challenges in their strive to go digital, Google is creating a new publishing platform for local news publishers.

Google News Initiative has partnered with web development company, Automattic and WordPress.com — home to 30 per cent of the world’s websites — and has invested $1.2 million in its effort to create “Newspack”.

“Newspack” is a fast, secure, low-cost publishing system tailor-made to the needs of small newsrooms, Google said in a statement on Monday.

The new publishing tool will be made available to publishers globally later in the year.

“Newspapers with long histories have had to cut back on staff and reduce coverage and reporters who try to start new digital publications face an interminable struggle with technical and business problems,” said Jim Albrecht, Product Management Director, Google Search.

“Journalists should be writing stories and covering their communities, not worrying about designing websites, configuring CMSs, or building commerce systems.”

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The Google name is displayed outside the company’s office in London, Britain. VOA

While “Newspack” publishers will have access to all the plugins created by the WordPress developer community, the core product is not trying to be all things to all publishers.

“It is trying to help small publishers succeed by building best practices into the product while removing distractions that may divert scarce resources. We like to call it aan opinionated CMS — it knows the right thing to do, even when you don’t,” explained Albrecht.

Google said it will also advise on the “Newspack” feature set, based on feedback from its extensive contact with local publishers, and provide technical support on the integration of Google products.

Also Read- Study Reveals Melting Away of Antarctica at an Alarming Rate

Google News in November launched a new innovation challenge to help scribes and publishers in the Asia-Pacific region produce quality journalism in the digital age.

According to Google, in Asia-Pacific, journalists and publishers are increasingly grappling with questions over how quality journalism can thrive in the digital age. (IANS)