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Amazon has 10,000 employees dedicated to Alexa

Amazon's VP of Alexa, Steve Rabuchin, has confirmed that yes, there really are 10,000 Amazon employees working on Alexa and Echo.

Google Assistant will soon speak 30 languages

The availability of Google Assistant will be expanded this year with support for 30 languages and multi-lingual input. Google announced the AI changes ahead of Mobile World Congress next week, claiming it wants Assistant to work "better for you."

Google Assistant can now read your audiobooks aloud

Google's announced it has started selling audiobooks through the Play Store, adding to its existing catalogue of apps, ebooks, and media. Audiobooks include direct integration with Assistant, letting you listen to books read aloud by smart home hardware.

Microsoft says Cortana will become 'ubiquitous digital assistant'

Microsoft has publicly addressed the scepticism around its Cortana assistant. The company's rival to Alexa and Google Assistant has been left exposed after CES. It has only a handful of third-party integrations and consumer use is thought to be low.

Roku announces plans to build its own voice assistant

Roku, manufacturer of streaming media players, has announced it's planning an expansion into home audio that will include its own digital voice assistant. The company will license its technology to manufacturers of smart speakers and soundbars.

Google to expand Assistant to more Android devices

Google's announced a significant availability expansion for Assistant. The company's launching the voice-activated AI on a wider selection of Android devices, including tablets and older phones. It comes as the company faces increased competition.

Microsoft adds Cortana integration to Skype as part of AI push

Microsoft has added Cortana integration to Skype, letting the assistant offer proactive help while you contact friends and family. Cortana works in a similar way to Google Assistant's integration with Allo, letting you check information and ask questions.

Google brings digital assistance to watching TV

Google has announced that Google Assistant is now available on Android TV. The launch comes with several TV-focused voice commands that help you start watching a show, find out what it's about and interact with apps. It's also a new stage for Assistant.

Samsung Bixby Voice expands to over 200 countries

Samsung has rolled out its Bixby digital assistant to over 200 countries across the world. The significant expansion implies Bixby is beginning to scale after a slow start. The assistant is still limited to just two languages though.

Amazon recruits Alexa to sell Prime subscriptions, promote deals

Amazon has announced a range of benefits to using Alexa to shop during its upcoming Prime Day event. Alexa users will be able to get early access to deals, buy products with their voice and even start a new Prime subscription at a reduced price.

Amazon thinks you need a wand to order groceries with your voice

Amazon has launched a new hardware product that lets you use your voice to order grocery items from AmazonFresh. Called the Amazon Dash Wand, it features the company's Alexa digital assistant and comes with a magnet so you can stick it to your fridge.

Microsoft planning Cortana overhaul with new 'conversational' UI

Microsoft is reportedly testing a new Windows 10 Cortana interface that is more "conversational," akin to Google Assistant. Cortana is also moving from the taskbar, near the Start button, to the system tray, next to the Action Center icon.

Google unveils new Assistant features, launches AI on the iPhone

Google has announced a bevy of new features coming to its Google Assistant AI. Besides new voice commands and more third-party integrations, the company is launching Assistant on Apple's iOS, stepping up the fight against Siri.

Samsung's Bixby assistant lands on smart fridges

Samsung is bringing its Bixby digital assistant to its smart Family Hub refrigerators according to reports today. The software update allows you to interact with the fridge using voice commands, a helpful alternative to the touchscreen while cooking.

Google Home now works with multiple users in a family

Google has updated Home with a major and significant new feature. Its Assistant-powered smart speaker can now recognise and distinguish between different voices, enabling it to seamlessly switch accounts and talk to everyone in a family.

Google unveils its take on Amazon's Alexa skills

Google has expanded its Google Assistant developer program to include every app creator as opposed to just private beta testers. It will expand the number of services compatible with Assistant as the company prepares to take on market leader Amazon.

Microsoft and Intel create a smarter Cortana and enhanced PCs

Microsoft has announced a partnership with Intel that will see the two companies collaborate to improve digital assistants, security, AI and mixed reality on Windows 10 PCs. Project Evo will create more capable future devices with enhanced functionality.

Microsoft's Cortana now comes preinstalled on more Android phones

Microsoft's Cortana digital assistant is now preinstalled on some new phones from Xiaomi, expanding its availability on new Android handsets. Cortana is available as an app for all phones. The partnership with Xiaomi will help increase user adoption.

Cortana now integrates with Wunderlist to manage your to-dos

Microsoft has announced its Cortana digital assistant can now create to-do lists. Coming in time for the busy holiday season, the feature also syncs with Wunderlist. It's the first time Microsoft has integrated the company's app into its products.

Samsung buys Viv, an AI assistant from the people who built Siri

Samsung has announced it is purchasing Viv Labs, a startup AI personal assistant. The team behind the technology worked on the original version of Siri, later bought by Apple in 2010. It signals Samsung is also planning to enter the assistant space.

Google wants you to forget about typing and talk directly to it

Google has formally announced Assistant, an interactive natural language processor that uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to create a unique, specially tailored version of Google for each user. It will be available on new Android phones.

Microsoft's voice recognition now almost as accurate as humans

Microsoft has announced it has reached a milestone in the development of more accurate speech recognition. The latest version of its technology has just achieved the lowest word error rate in the industry, bringing full voice input closer to reality.

Do you use Siri in public? 97% of Americans are too embarrassed

A survey of American iPhone users has found that over 98 percent of all owners have tried out Siri, Apple's preinstalled digital assistant. Of that figure, just 3 percent have done so in public though, with the overwhelming majority too embarrassed.

Google is building an Amazon Echo rival called 'Chirp'

Google is building a new consumer hardware device to rival Amazon's Echo, according to reports. The product will be an always-on voice controlled digital assistant, powered by Google Now. Amazon has seen a sales success with the Echo.

Siri creators unveil Viv, a digital assistant 'for everything'

The creators of Siri, Apple's digital assistant for the iPhone, have unveiled a new artificial intelligence. Known as Viv, the AI is smarter than Siri and aims to redefine the limits of human-computer interaction, connecting "everything" together.

Amazon's Alexa partners with Fitbit to remind you to exercise

Amazon has released a new update for its Alexa digital assistant on the Amazon Echo. Alexa now integrates with exercise tracking app Fitbit, letting you ask how active you've been, tell Alexa to register a new activity or hear supporting prompts.

Google's new speech recognition works offline, powered by a phone

Google is building a speech recognition system that can run on a smartphone even while it is offline. The company has substantially trimmed down its speech libraries to maintain accuracy while running on a phone's limited processor and memory.

Microsoft's Cortana digital assistant gets sexually harassed?

Microsoft has explained how it trains its Cortana digital assistant, available on Windows, Android and iOS, to respond to the "inappropriate" questions that users often ask. A "good chunk" of early queries asked Cortana about her sex life.

Microsoft's Cortana now officially launched on iPhone and Android

Microsoft's Cortana digital assistant has received its first public release to smartphones running iOS, Android and Cyanogen OS. Cortana was built for Windows but is now platform-agnostic so most features work as intended.

Google: Smartphones to see three 'big shifts' by 2020

A key Google director has explained where mobile tech is going and what changes we can expect to see in the next five years. The future apparently consists of an emphasis on digital assistants and "getting stuff done," instead of finding things out.
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Dag Kittlaus demonstrating Viv at TechCrunch Disrupt NY
Dag Kittlaus demonstrating Viv at TechCrunch Disrupt NY
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The Amazon Echo smart speaker with Amazon s Alexa digital assistant
The Amazon Echo smart speaker with Amazon's Alexa digital assistant

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