Google introduced its AI-powered Language Interpreter software to phones on Thursday. The software allows a conversation between two people when speaking different languages.
The app, dubbed interpreter mode, can work with Google Assistant, the virtual assistant of the search giant competing with Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri, on your phone soon. At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Google unveiled the device earlier this year. However, at the time, it was only available on smart displays and piloted in specific scenarios, such as speaking to a concierge in the hotel.
Google Language Interpreter software on Android devices and iPhones from today. Have the Google Assistant activated, and say something like “Be my Thai translator” or “Help me speak Italian.” Speak the phrase in the other language in both the phone and audio play. Your microphone must stay in response. You can also type a reply using the phone’s keyboard or pick it manually. Forty-four languages are available, among them Greek, Turkish, and Mandarin.
This app might be very helpful for travelers. Google tried to improve its translation and map tools over the last few months to help people visit other countries. In August, the company announced new Google Maps apps that will encourage people to pull up appointments, such as plane reservations and hotel reservations, so that they will not have to leave the app while heading to a new destination.
Another new Maps tool allows people to listen to the correct utterance of places they might not know because they do not know the language or how to read. The aim is to talk well enough to ask a taxi driver for directions or tell him where to go.
Google isn’t the first company to offer on-the-go communication tools. They’re already being created by companies such as Domino and China’s Sogou. However, due to Android and iOS scope— they are effectively a duopoly on the world’s telecommunications market— Google’s scale goes to the next tier, especially for Android phones with helpers.
“The size of Android is important because it is deployed to areas in which so many people speak multiple languages,” Vincent Lacey, the Assistant Product Manager, said in January when interpreter mode was introduced. “There are many possibilities, you can see.”