Apple and Google are arch nemesis since the beginning of time. Whether it is the operating system or the newest voice assistant these two have always been compared to each other. Back in 2012 when Google launched its Jelly Bean OS and Apple entered the market with iOS 4 things were a lot different. Siri was losing on all grounds to android voice assistant, be it the voice recognition of different dialects or understanding of everyday questions Siri was having a hard time adjusting to needs of users – Now after 7 years how much have things changed for both voice assistants?
Google Received a Makeover
With introduction of Google pixel and Google Home – Google has come a long way. While Apple was facing charges for invading its users’ privacy Google was acting like the perfect example of an opportunist which was taking over the consumer market. Google went through a couple of changes in the meantime:
- Google has now moved onto the Quartz processor which is way fast than all the old versions of operating systems.
- ‘Hey Google’ is now ‘Okay Google’ though they both are equally annoying.
- Google has killed its once very useful ‘Google Now’ feature to ‘feed’ which mostly contains useless information about raging trends that one most definitely doesn’t have any interest in.
- Google Assistant now has 9 new voices totaling up to more than 30 languages in its data bank
- Google has developed a range of its own phones.
9 New Voices in 9 Countries
Google had its eyes set on revamping Google Assistant for a very long time. Having seen the fate of Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa after their unfortunate incidents with voice recognition failure, topped with inability to scour through schedules and emails when asked about daily engagements, Google knew what changes it had to make if it ever wished for Google Assistant to win over the hearts of consumers.
In the heat of moment, Google decided to release 9 new languages in 9 different countries making it the most versatile voice search engine. With Dutch, German, Italian, French, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian and English in two different dialects added to its database Google became the most versatile and user friendly voice search tool in the history of voice search tools. Now anyone can ask Google Assistant to look for assignment services online and get results in record time that too without glitch.
Gender Neutral Voice
After being called out for sexist translations of Turkish text, Google had to do something better than just improving voice reach and recognition mechanism of Google Assistant. In a world that is becoming intolerant towards attitudes and opinions with every passing day, Google decided to neutralize things by introducing a gender neutral voice for its assistant.
Gender neutral voice was necessary because since the beginning of time most AI voice searches have been predominantly dubbed female. With more and more people floating away towards gender fluidity it was imperative that such step was taken.
Google assistant now has two voice options, you can select two voices at the time of setting up. The best part about this that Google has taken seriously the idea of gender fluidity. Voice that are used as Google Assistant’s voice are now given a name as per colors. The Indian English dialect or voice may be called blue while French may be called red. Adding colors instead of proper names helps in creating a very neutral image of the voice assistant.
Controversial Siri Recording
Siri and Apple together have been accused of saving and listening to thousands of voice searches that took place over their voice search software. Listening to consumer’s searches without their consent earned Siri a lot of bad light. But was it over for Siri then?
Apparently, not. Apple tried to bounce back by hiring writers, poets, information specialists that had previously worked at Google to develop the best voice search assistant. Siri even tried to take its tool up by a notch when it welcomed writers to its headquarters.
You might try and order Siri to look up cause and effect essay writing with the accent of Latina to know more about how Siri is doing with its researches. Or better look up ’Sofia Vergara’ in the particular Latino accent and you’d know. Apparently, the future seems bleak for Siri with such controversial background, and no proper update.
Problem with Siri & Its Future in 2020
Siri lacks a data bank at the back end of its service. Since AI is unaware of the consequences of its racist and sexist actions, but its inability to respond to women voices and voices of people of color is causing a big divide between people – and somehow pointing towards the lack of knowledge, empathy and desensitization of the west towards people of color.
But this problem is not without a solution, it is said by 2020 most searches done online or on android phones will make use of voice searches. Since AI makes use of available knowledge that is fed to it when it is in the programming stages, it is suggested that the horizon of information may be extended so that Siri becomes an all-inclusive voice assistant than a bigot.
Elijah Gabrielson with MA Linguistics from College of Liberal Arts-University of Illinois is a tech savvy writer at Eazy Research.