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Google launches a virtual assistant in Arabic language

After years of development, the American company has just launched a virtual assistant using artificial intelligence. Available on more than a million devices worldwide, he is able to sing, and even joke, in Arabic.

The official launch of the Arabic version of Google’s electronic assistant has just taken place. The technology, designed for the Google Home smart speaker, as well as the new messaging application called “Allo”, uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to understand any Arabic dialect – a considerable hurdle to overcome if we consider the importance and variety of dialects in the Arabic language – and to respond in literary Arabic.

Long-Term development

At least two years of work serve as the foundation for this launch. Basically, at the end of 2018, beta versions (different depending on the regions for which the experiments were underway) were still being tested by users, such as Rita El Khoury, an Android enthusiast, and contributor to the AndroidPolice site, residing in Lebanon. At the time, she reported, “most of the wizard’s features worked, but it was impossible to get understood orally by Google Home”.

Finished product…

Today, it would, therefore, seem that progress has been well made, and the developers promise that, as time goes on, “the service will only get better”. In an interview with Arab News, Najeeb Jarrar, Google’s product marketing manager in the MENA region, explains: “Before launching a product, we invest a lot of time and resources to make it work as well as possible. It is not only a question of understanding the local area but also of meeting the needs of the market.

… but still room for improvement

This is why machine learning – coupled with natural language processing, as well as internally developed technologies – is useful for proposing an evolutionary solution. Thus, as time goes by, the assistant will be able to adapt to the preferences, language habits, accents, etc. of users in order to offer a tailor-made service. The developers promise new features in the coming months.

The importance of laughter

While the words used by the assistant have been “verified” by highly qualified linguists, it is not able to relax. For example, it can answer questions such as: “Do you love me?” based on references from popular or classical culture. Singing songs, telling funny stories and answering existential questions are also part of her attributes.

See also

“Hajj Hackathon” places Saudi Arabia in the Guinness Book of World Records

Published on 11 June 2019