Does the future hold an exclusively voice-based communication with our devices? If so, then Google has taken the quality of voice assistants to the next level, and has made the battle with rival mobile assistants like Microsoft’s Cortana, Apple’s Siri, or even Facebook’s M, even more interesting.
- Google announced important update for its voice assistant
- “OK Google” now returns more accurate answers to complex questions
- The company’s virtual assistant has been taught to break down queries
While Google’s app has always been better at understanding human language and answering accurately to users’ queries accurately, the company announced today that its app can now understand even more complex questions that require the app to understand the underlying meaning, as well.
When it first launched in 2008, Google’s voice search could provide answers to question about factual information about persons, places or things. The service was later connected to the company’s Knowledge Graph in 2012, in order to answer to more complicated queries.
Following a new update, the voice search’s ability improved again, learning to read words in different contexts. For example, Google knew that a question about a screwdriver’s ingredients was referencing the drink, not the tool. But the latest upgrade has made Google better than ever at providing answers.
In order to do that, Google’s updated voice assistant has been taught to break down the more complex queries into its pieces, so it can understand the semantics involved in each piece. In the example released with the update, Google shows the virtual assistant’s process in answering with “George Bush” to the question “Who was the U.S. President when the Angels won the World Series?”
Even though answering that doesn’t seem quite a feat for us humans, getting a machine to understand is a bit more complicated. The system has to figure out the “Angels” reference (a baseball team), determine the World Series is a particular game won by the team, and then cross-reference the year of that win with a list of presidents for a the U.S.
Asking such questions before the update often failed, as Google would often return search results matching the keywords, and not an overall answer. In other words, this is the beginning of Google, the true semantic search engine that can understand the meaning behind a question as naturally as humans do.
Even though Google’s technology is far from perfect, it might be closer than some of its rivals. Dealing with Google’s voice assistant has become more natural than most of the interactions with other services.
Image Source: Cult of Android