Skip to main content

Google Assistant expanding multilingual support & bringing Voice Typing, Actions to KaiOS phones

In addition to dedicated hardware buttons and Messages integration, Google is improving Assistant’s international capabilities at MWC 2019. This includes additional multilingual pairings and many new features on KaiOS feature phones.

In August, Google announced bilingual support that allows Assistant to recognize and provide responses in two languages interchangeably. At launch, this feature supported English, Spanish, German, French, Japanese, and Italian, with Assistant now gaining an additional six: Korean, Hindi, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, and Dutch.

Similarly, commands with Multiple Actions from I/O 2018 are now available in French and German. This allows for complex queries that can include two distinct actions. Those two languages now also recognize Digital Wellbeing related questions like “How much time have I spent on my phone” or “turn on do not disturb.”

After adding support for Marathi in India last summer, Assistant can now be set to Bengali, Tamil, Telugu, Gujarati, Kannada, Malayalam, and Urdu for a total of eight Indic languages.

At CES 2019, Google announced that Assistant can automatically check-in to your upcoming United flights. In Europe, this feature now works on Lufthansa, SWISS, and Austrian Air.

Back in January, Google announced that Assistant is available on 1 billion devices, including smart devices and phones. Future growth for Assistant is also centered around developing markets, in line with Google’s Next Billion Users initiative.

Beyond smartphones, Assistant is available on feature phones running KaiOS. Google notes a 7x increase in the number of active users for the Assistant in India, Indonesia, Mexico, and Brazil this past year.

In these places where people are coming online for the first time, millions of people are discovering that voice is a more natural way to interact with technology and they’re overcoming technological hurdles that seemed out of reach before.

As a result, Google is launching Voice Typing on KaiOS in the coming months. This speech-to-text allows users to navigate to a text field and then hold down an Assistant button to transcribe. The Assistant language can differ from the main display language.

Google is also bringing Actions to Android 9 Pie (Go Edition) and KaiOS in the same time frame. Developers will be able to build third-party Assistant apps for users around the world, with Google releasing a feature and entry-level phone simulator for testing.

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

Samsung Galaxy S10 cases
You’re reading 9to5Google — experts who break news about Google and its surrounding ecosystem, day after day. Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, and follow 9to5Google on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay in the loop. Don’t know where to start? Check out our exclusive stories, reviews, how-tos, and subscribe to our YouTube channel

Check out 9to5Google on YouTube for more news:



Avatar for Abner Li Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: