Pichai unveils all new Google Assistant that sounds like a human

Tell the Google Assistant to book a table for four at 6:00 pm, it tends to the phone call in a human-sounding voice complete with "speech disfluencies" such as "ums" and "uhs". But how does that matter to Indian users?

The Google Photos will be revamped to introduce features like black & white photo colourization, and ability to separate subjects from the background in pictures. These suggestions are based on the context and usage history.

While the regular news feature will be increasingly tailored, Full Coverage is created to be the same for everyone.

Google photos cannot just restore our old black and white photos, but also convert them to colour images.

The Assistant, in effect, was able to think for itself; in fact, in this instance it thought more effectively than the human in the restaurant reservation scenario.

It is making the Assistant sound more like a human.

Google I/O 2018 just revealed the upgrades in store for its virtual assistant service. So, one can give direct commands after an initial wake command.

How natural it sounded. The AI-driven Assistant spoke in a very natural, human-sounding voice, interjecting an "uh" and a "hmm" here and there before replying to questions, with a flawless intonation that could barely be told apart from that of the person at the other end of the call. In a live demo on the I/O stage, the Google Assistant responded to a query about an actress with a full-screen preview of their Wikipedia entry.

So Google now is using AI to "bring forward the best of what journalism has to offer", Pichai said.

Google chief Sundar Pichai played a recording of the Google Assistant independently calling a hair salon and a restaurant to make bookings - interacting with staff who evidently didn't realize they were dealing with artificial intelligence software, rather than a real customer. Google did say it's a work in progress though, so it'll be a while before it comes to market. This will eventually learn what kind of news you prefer and display content pertaining to your preferences. It also functions as a Google Home speaker through and through - call it with "Hey, Google" and request whatever you would with your regular smart home speaker. The Federal Communications Commission has also been grappling with rules for robocalls, the unsolicited and automatically-dialled calls made by telemarketers.

Augmented reality is also being added to Google Maps. Android P - the latest Android flavour is on its way. The three-button navigation on the bottom has been replaced by a single home button. Princeton University and China's Zhejiang University researchers enhanced the attack by first muting the AI device so its own responses would also be inaudible to the user. For example, an app called Dashboard will let users see how much they've used their phone, how many times they've picked it up, or how much they've used specific apps.

Continued Conversations is arriving for users in the next few weeks, while Multiple Actions is rolling out now.

  • Joey Payne