Updated January 31: A Google spokesman told Gadgets 360 that Google Assistant does not officially support Hindi and only works for a few phrases. The full quote is included below.
BGR is reporting that Google Assistant now speaks Hindi on Android phones with OS 5.0 or later. India is one of the latest battlegrounds contested by Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant for users. Samsung’s Bixby is also attempting to compete, but only in localized Indian English. Amazon has initiated a limited release of its Echo smart speaker line. Alexa officially supports Indian English and Bloomberg claims it supports Hinglish (i.e. a combination of English and Hindi) as well. However, today’s report suggests Hindi support by Google Assistant.
BGR’s coverage suggests users need to set the default as “English (India)” and then you can input queries in proper Hindi. The responses then will be in Hindi. If you set “Hindi” as the default, Google Assistant will say, “it’s not compatible yet,” says BGR.
360 Gadgets from NDTV was able to get a response from Google through email commenting on the Hindi findings reported by BGR.
A Google spokesperson told Gadgets 360 that Hindi language support for Google Assistant has not been launched, and it’s presently only available in the Google Assistant integration within the Allo messaging app. Nevertheless, the Assistant does officially have the ability to understand few selected Hindi queries. ‘The Google Assistant on Android phones and iPhones is currently available in English in India, built for English input but supporting a few selected Hindi queries. While we’ve launched the Hindi Google Assistant on Allo, it’s not available on phones yet. We are looking to bring the Assistant experience to more Indian languages over time,’ the spokesperson said in an email statement.
Google Focus on India
Particularly with China not a near-term option for Google Assistant, the company views India as an attractive market. The company announced Indian-English support in November. Google then announced more localized features for India in December including several new third-party Assistant apps from popular media and shopping companies. It also announced Google Assistant availability on a forthcoming $23 feature phone called JioPhone. The availability of Hindi support on Google Assistant will be a big advantage that rivals will be forced to match to compete in the world’s second largest country by population.