As teased yesterday by Hiroshi Lockheimer’s MWC 2018 post, Google is heading into the mobile trade show with a number of Assistant announcements. With a focus on phone features, the smart Assistant will add more languages this year, as well as multilingual support. Meanwhile, Google has worked closely with OEMs to improve the Assistant experience on third-party devices.

Earlier this month, Google revealed at a conference that the Assistant is set for a wider international rollout in 2018. Ahead of MWC, the company has confirmed that by year’s end it will be available in more than 30 languages (up from eight). This includes Danish, Dutch, Hindi, Indonesian, Norwegian, Swedish, and Thai. Google notes that the rollout will reach 95% of all eligible Android phones.

If you prefer to speak German at work, but French at home, your Assistant is right there with you.

Meanwhile, Assistant will soon gain multilingual support so that it can seamlessly understand commands as you speak to it in multiple languages. Slated for later this year, it will first support English, French, and German.

The other big Assistant news for MWC is Google working closely with device makers. An Assistant Mobile OEM program will enable companies “to build deeper integrations between the Assistant and device features, using natural language understanding and the conversational interfaces of the Assistant.” Features include:

  • Device-specific Assistant commands to launch custom hardware and software features. As LG previously revealed, this includes commands like “Take a picture on a wide angle” and “Open camera on a manual mode”
  • Integration with hardware-based AI chips
  • “Ok Google” and “Hey Google” support when the screen is off as found on the Pixel

Google notes that these integrations and others from LG, Sony, and Xiaomi are coming soon. Beyond OEMs, phone carriers are also getting in on the action.

The Assistant Carrier program “helps mobile carriers use capabilities in the Assistant to give their customers more insight and control over their service.” Features include allowing subscribers to learn more about their plan, add new services (like international data roaming), and get customer support. Initial carriers include Sprint, Koodo, Telus and Vodafone.

In the short-term, Google has also announced that Routines and location-based reminders from Google Home are coming over the next few weeks. To learn more, read our post here.


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