One of the many great news emerging out of last week’s Google I/O was the upcoming support for multiple languages in Google Now. As it turns out, we’ll have to wait a bit longer to enjoy the feature.
Google confirmed to CNET that the feature won’t roll out in the coming days, as it was first believed. Apparently, bugs found in late testing prompted the team to delay the feature for later this summer.
Currently, Google Now is only able to understand one language at the time and switching to a new language requires fiddling with the app’s settings menu. That’s a problem for bilingual users or when a device is shared by users who speak different languages.
Having a system distinguish between different languages on the fly is no mean task, but Google is close to cracking the problem. Long term, the goal is to make Now behave like a human assistant, in a way that “just works”. To reach this goal, Google is working to solve two other big problems that affect voice recognition – understanding non-standard speech patterns (like the speech of a small child) and recognizing voice commands in noisy environments or when the user is more than a few feet away from the device.