Google Launches Voice Experiments

Google has been working hard in recent years to increase usage of its voice assistant. Available in both Android phones and in Google’s Home devices, the eponymous assistant can assist users in a variety of ways and can even interact with connected Smart home devices. With its Experiments program, Google is encouraging users and developers to look at Google’s assistant in an entirely new way.

In showcasing some of the new and creative uses of its technology, Google are hoping to inspire others to take advantage of the sophistication of the technology while having fun with the functionality. The company showed off four separate experiments which they believe demonstrate the most novel uses so far of the technology contained within its voice assistant software and hardware

Story Speaker

Story Speaker is arguably the most practical of the experiments that Google showed off. Story Speaker pairs devices with Google Docs, allowing for documents to be read aloud. So far, so standard, however the app also contains templates to construct choose-your-own adventure stories which the listener can play along with.

MixLab

MixLab is a musical composition system. Smartphones and tablets, in particular Apple’s iPad, have been very well served with apps for creating music. In many cases the same software found on a synthesizer costing hundreds of dollars can be purchased to run on the iPad for as little as $10. The touch screen interface has revolutionized the way that creators interact with music making software.

MixLab represents another attempt at a new approach to music making, this time, allowing users to create music using nothing but their voice. The app is capable of producing music in response to commands such as “play me some funky piano”. Users are free to add layers to the music and to tweak it any way they like. By asking the system to ‘play me something’ users can trigger it to compose and playback its own original creations.

Others

The two other experiments that were demonstrated by Google were less practical and intended more as a demonstration of concepts than solid ideas. Mystery Animals is a simple game, essentially a 20 questions game. The other experiment on display was the meme-generator, an incredibly fun and funny way of using cutting edge technology. Users simply direct the system to find a particular photo and then offer a caption to put over it. The system then outputs the corresponding meme instantly. The system is a more advanced version of the kind of meme generators currently seen on sites such as lolhit.com.

Google’s voice experiments demonstrate that the company continues to push to stay on the cutting edge of technological developments while always looking for fun and interesting ways to implement these technologies. The ultimate goal is to take the technology to a point where voice assistants are able to have a true understanding of language and will then be able to respond to conversational directions. Soon Google’s devices could well become a common feature of the average home and as more of our devices find ways to interconnect with one another, the possibilities offered by voice assistants are endless.

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