When the Pixel 4 was launched last year Google announced that it would release more English variants for the Google Assistant towards the end of the year, which it duly did. The UK, Canada, Ireland, Singapore and Australia versions of the assistant was updated with local mannerisms and accents. But now Google have given their assistant the ability to speak and understand another language entirely.
Announced on their blog, Google Assistant now supports Japanese for Pixel 4 devices and is expected to roll out to other devices in future software updates. Japan also received an update to use Motion Sense on its Pixel devices.
For the time being, it seems that it is still a bit of a workaround to make Assistant work in Japanese. It must be the only language enabled on the device, so presumably you’ll need to disable English completely. Even if using it in Japanese, you still simply say “OK, Google” to activate.
It’s surprising that Google has taken this long to release another language to work through their digital assistant, as they’ve been doing language based cognition for years. Their translate feature is extremely useful, especially when travelling, so they’ve had all the data available to roll out other languages for a while now.
We don’t have any word about if or when Google would release assistant updates for other languages, but presumably a widely spoken language like Spanish, Cantonese (although Google services aren’t allowed in China) or French would be up next.
The Google Interpreter mode on assistant works well already. Languages supported include Arabic, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Filipino (Tagalog), Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hindi, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Slovak, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, and Vietnamese.