Google is doubling down on its digital assistant, adding more languages and working with phone makers to build deeper integrations into their devices, as it battles Amazon’s Alexa.
Ahead of the Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona next week, Google announced that the Google Assistant will support 30 languages by the end of the year, up from eight today. Google says that will increase Google Assistant’s reach to more than 95 percent of all Android users.
The Google Assistant will also become multilingual this year. That means the assistant can jump between languages without having to change settings. If one person in a household speaks English, and another Spanish, the Google Assistant will be able to recognize both languages and converse in them.
Google’s greatest advantage in its battle against Alexa is the Android platform. Google has much more say in how its digital assistant is built into smartphones than Amazon does.
Google says it has been working with device makers for more than a year now, but a new Assistant Mobile OEM program will help partners build deeper integrations into devices, such as accessing the Google Assistant even when the screen is off. Google also has an Assistant Carrier program designed to let customers use the Google Assistant to learn more about their phone and plan.
Google is adding location-based reminders for smart speakers and Routines, a concept first revealed last year that involves rolling several commands into a single action. In the coming weeks, the Google Assistant will be able to perform six routines that help with starting the day, commuting to and from work and an evening at home.