Last updated: May 2, 2021
Google Home now also enters the abyss of learning Arabic. And that tiny device with the blinking lights is actually doing quite well. Let’s see how it works (and sounds).
Google Assistant (Google Home) now supports Egyptian Arabic and Saudi Arabic (in beta). It used to be limited to certain users, but now you can use it also in Europe, and I am sure also in the US.
Update: Google has announced in December 2019 that Googles Assistant supports now 15 more Arabic countries besides Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
I couldn’t figure it out what is the idea behind Egyptian and Saudi Arabic because my Google device speaks a version of Standard Arabic and definitely not a dialect.
It would be also a miracle if Google understood the probably fastest spoken dialect in the world – Egyptian Arabic. This will take some more time, I guess. However, my Google Home did understand the question “izayyak?” which was pretty cool.
But let’s see how it sounds.
This is the answer if you ask Google: “What time is it”? (السّاعة كم؟)
How do you tell Google Home to speak Arabic?
It is easy. Open the Google Home app on your phone. Go to account – settings (general) – assistant (you see it at the top) – languages.
You can then choose two languages:
I have only tried Egyptian Arabic. To be honest, it is still pretty limited compared to English or German. Why?
- I have asked my Google Home many questions which were also transcribed correctly on the display (in Arabic!) – but there was no answer.
- I can only guess, but since Google is using sources like Wikipedia, it may simply don’t have enough sources.
- Furthermore, I have no idea how Google deals with the issue that in Arabic vowels are not written. How does Google know how to pronounce a word correctly? I have already noticed some mistakes – but who doesn’t make mistakes…
Another example of Google Home’s ability to speak Arabic:
At the end of 2018, Google announced that Google Home can understand and speak 30 languages – which covers roughly 95 percent of Android users.
Google assistant automatically detects your language each time you speak and respond in kind. If you’re multilingual, you’ll no longer have to pick only a single language to use with the Assistant.
And finally, the ultimate test: Can Google tell you a joke in Arabic? YES!
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