Google is reportedly building a Duolingo rival

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According to a report by The Information (paywall), Google may be putting its AI expertise to work by helping people learn foreign languages.

The move seems a fairly expected one, given that Google operates all over the world, has vast lakes of language data and features its own translation tools across a number of different platforms and services.

The new service will be called Tivoli, but seeing as how the name is already being used by an American company that specialises in audio hardware, we’re expecting a name change down the line.

For now the service is expected to launch later this year, as a potential rival to Duolingo, along with being text-based for now and being embedded within Google Search.

As for what will be powering Tivoli, Google has not disclosed all the details, but as The Next Web points out, the AI-based LaMDA demo that Google showcased at its I/O conference earlier this year. The demo saw LaMDA posing as recently dwarf planet-classed Pluto and having a conversation to showcase the language capabilities of the AI system.

In terms of what future applications for Tivoli would be, Google Assistant is naturally being touted down the line in the report, along with YouTube. The latter application of the technology, however, is not where we thought it would be used, as the language tool would feature in quizzes. While that could prove fun, the ability to translate and close caption videos from creators that speak a different language to your own, would be great.

Either way, it looks like Google is placing more effort into using its AI to help people learn different languages and rival services like Duolingo and Babel, as apposed to natural sounding robocalls, which was worryingly showcased a couple of years ago.

[Image – Photo by JACQUELINE BRANDWAYN on Unsplash]

Robin-Leigh Chetty

Robin-Leigh Chetty

Editor of Hypertext. Covers smartphones, IoT, 5G, cloud computing and a few things in between. Also a keen photographer and dabbles in console games when not taking the hatchet to stories.

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