BloombergQuint: Google Says Over 500 Million People Use Its Assistant Monthly. “On the one hand, having the voice-controlled technology on over half a billion devices far outstrips main rival Amazon.com Inc., which said last year that more than 100 million gadgets had been sold with its Alexa digital assistant. However, Google’s Android operating system runs on roughly 2.5 billion devices. That suggests the Google Assistant either isn’t available with some of these products, or that many people aren’t using the service.”
Analytics India: Top Chatbots, Assistants & Facial Recognition Tools Launched In 2019. “Chatbots have emerged as the preferred interface as more and more searches are shifting from text to voice. While globally, banking bots have moved beyond answering transactional queries to full-service mode, the Indian BFSI sector bound by regulatory norms is still in an evolving stage. They are now moving to full-fledged virtual assistant mode, thanks to artificial intelligence and machine learning.”
The Next Web: 2020 will mark the death of the chatbot as we know it. “According to recent research, only 9 percent of customers felt that they would be best served by a chatbot for serious enquiries, whereas the figures for a voice call were in excess of 80 percent. But with 80 percent of contact centers wanting to adopt chatbot technology by 2020, what is does this industry know that we don’t? Well, they are seeing the bright and not-so-distant future of this technology, and it doesn’t look like a thing like your average chatbot.”
Smashing Magazine: Creating Voice Skills For Google Assistant And Amazon Alexa. “Voice assistants are hopping out of emerging tech and into everyday life. As a front end developer, you already have the skills to build one, so let’s dive into the platforms.” This is a giant technical dive and definitely not for beginners.
Lifehacker: Add Speech-to-Text to Any Website With This Extension. “Voice In is a Chrome extension that adds speech-to-text to most any website. That means you can do things like respond to Slack messages or send emails using your voice rather than typing all the words out.”
Hackaday: Almond: Open Personal Assistant From Stanford. “The current state of virtual personal assistants — Alexa, Cortana, Google, and Siri — leaves something to be desired. The speech recognition is mostly pretty good. However, customization options are very limited. Beyond that, many people are worried about the privacy of their data when using one of these assistants. Stanford Open Virtual Assistant Lab has rolled out Almond, which is open and is reported to have better privacy features.”
Mozilla Blog: Mozilla and BMZ Announce Cooperation to Open Up Voice Technology for African Languages. “Today, Mozilla and the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) have announced to join forces in the collection of open speech data in local languages, as well as the development of local innovation ecosystems for voice-enabled products and technologies. The initiative builds on the pilot project, which our Open Innovation team and the Machine Learning Group started together with the organization ‘Digital Umuganda’ earlier this year. The Rwandan start-up collects language data in Kinyarwanda, an African language spoken by over 12 million people. Further languages in Africa and Asia are going to be added.”