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Big impact of using Google Assistant by people who don't have the internet

I would like to introduce the story here, because I heard the great service this morning from some other Assistant GDE.

In the Google I/O 2018 this year, it was announced that there are already 500 million devices which can use the Google Assistant. I thought that the number is so many when I heard that. However, unfortunately, it is not covered the whole world by only the 500M devices. There are many regions where Google Assistant is not available. Furthermore, there are so many regions where people who live in the regions cannot user the internet. These people are using a “legacy phone” which can use only old telephone service (maybe including SMS).

Of course, people cannot use a packet communication on the internet from the legacy phones. Therefore, normally, the Google Assistant cannot be used as well. I think that many people will give up as like “Oh, I must wait to come the time when we can use the internet”. Actually, I thought that, too.

But, the Google Assistant has a special feature. That is, we can operate it with Voice User Interface. Regardless the technology, both “an interaction between users and the Google Assistant” and “an interaction between one to one on via legacy phones” should be same completely.

Currently, a new service called “My Line powered by Google” has been providing for people who live in Colombia and cannot have a way to access to the internet. Please see the video below:

People can use the Google Assistant “without the internet access” from the legacy phone as like the following:

  1. “User” - Call the tel number “6000913”.
  2. “Legacy phone” - Say a welcome message and instruct to ask questions.
  3. “User” - Ask “How is today’s weather?”.
  4. “Legacy phone” - Say “Today’s weather is fine, with a maximum temperature of 35 degrees, the lowest temperature…”

So, the voice speaking from the legacy phone is the Google Assistant. That is, the user can talk to the Google Assistant with the voice communication via My Line.

This telephone number “6000913” is… what is it similar to?

6000913
Gooogle

This is a good joke, but it will be easy to remember.

In many countries, information gaps are spreading and the gap will be increasing. I guess that the factors are whether people can use the internet or not, and whether people can use internet fully or limitedly. That is, the big gap will be created, because of the reason of only that there is no internet environment. However, we should go the goal of which all people in the world can use information equally. I think that the Google Assistant is included into the goal as well. Everyone should be able to use the Google Assistant. We will be able to say that the Google Assistant becomes a platform than other all existing platforms, if we can prepare such environment.

This My Line service proved that a usage of the Google Assistant doesn’t relate of the internet connection.

Of course, I guess that the team members of the My Line went through vary efforts until releasing the service. But, as I read the news, the My Line has a combination of two components: Assistant SDK and Twilio. Actually, I think that three technologies are necessary, and we can achieve to build the service with these technologies. First one is the technology to get the phone and talk with the caller via phones. Second is the text-to-speech and speech-to-text technology. Last is the technology of I/O to interact to the Google Assistant. Each technology has already been used by many developers. I guess that this new combination could bring a new valuable. This is a great thing.

Since the My Line service has been started, the count of devices which can use the Google Assistant has been increased as like “500M + the count of people who are using the My Line service”. I personally guess that the potential will be more big than we thought. “My Line”-like services will be able to bring the Google Assistant for more countries and more peoplem not only Colombia. Then, more people will be able to use the valuable of the internet, I believe.

I was excited about the news this morning. Therefore, I wrote this blog entry.

In the previous event, I said that “Google Assistant is Internet”. It would be great if you notice that the phrase is not a joke and hyperbole, when you see the service.

Source: My Line lets Colombians call Google Assistant - venturebeat.com