Amazon’s Alexa leads the smart speaker market, but it only knows a few languages. Apple’s Siri knows a wealth of languages, but to activate one, you have to deactivate another, so to speak. Google is now offering something that nobody else is: a bilingual digital assistant.

Google Assistant can now have two different languages active at the same time, meaning that owners can switch back on the forth on the fly without having to program in a new language. For example, if you have English and Spanish active, you can throw either “where it the bank?” or “dónde está el banco” at your smart speaker and Google Assistant will answer in whatever language you used.

For the time being, you can’t throw a third language into the mix, but just being able to have two going at once is a significant feature that the competition lacks. The list of current languages includes the aforementioned English and Spanish, as well as German, French, Italian, and Japanese, with more coming in the future.

This new feature will be great for multi-language households and consumers looking to learn a different language. It’s easy to imagine this becoming a standard feature going forward until we get to the point where all smart speakers can converse in any language they offer at any time.

Will this make a dent in Amazon’s smart speaker lead? It’s hard to say because while nobody else offers a bilingual digital assistant, its success depends on the size of the demographic that would need this specific feature. With platforms like Duolingo having 300 million registered users, the desire to learn new languages is pretty high, so Google might be able to grab a decent-sized chunk of the market with this one.


This is way better than that time that Alexa started randomly laughing in the middle of the night.

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