You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience.

Google Now has started sounding more like a real person

The result of a couple of small changes means Google's AI now sounds more human than ever -- but when will Siri follow?
March 31, 2016

Google's mobile AI, Google Now, sounds more human thanks to recent changes which add smart intonation and expression. It's not perfect, but it means the service sounds better than ever, and certainly outperforms Apple's Siri in this respect.

Getting there
Google app — Search made just for mobile

Getting there

Google app — Search made just for mobile Getting there

Fortune has the scoop, explaining that “Google's latest version of Google Now sounds more like a person and less like a machine.” There are apparently more “nuances of human intonation and speech patterns,” with the AI speaking more naturally. Fortune adds that Google Now has also become a smarter listener, and responds to “longer, and more specific questions without too much pause.”

Google isn't alone in its mission to bring more human-like AI to our homes (and phones). Fortune rightly adds that a bunch of companies, including our own Apple and Microsoft, Amazon, and even Sonos are either ramping up their virtual assistant offerings or looking to introduce new ones. Perhaps the most surprising inclusion in this list of big names is Amazon: I have to admit, I'd not given the Echo a second look before hearing of its use and success, and right now, it looks like Amazon's UE Boom-like all-listening speaker is the way forward for AI in the home.

I'm really hoping Sonos does something notable in this area: as a fairly recent owner of a pair of Play:1 speakers, the idea of being able to fire off music through some kind of always-one voice activation feature is something I find really appealing.

For now, though, you can check out the revamped Google Now inside of Google's own iOS application. It's not perfect, but compared with Apple's fairly robotic Siri it's definitely an improvement.

Google app — Search made just for mobile
Google app — Search made just for mobile
Google, Inc.