Google Assistant Launches in Belgium
- Google Assistant is now available in Belgium
- Users can speak Dutch, French, English, or German, but not Flemish or Walloon
- Both Android and iOS smartphones are supported, but Google Home smart speakers are not yet available
- Local businesses and services such as NMBS, Bpost, De Standaard, RMI, Proximus, Telenet have launched Google Actions
Google announced earlier this morning in a press conference that it now has a localized version of Google Assistant for Belgium. It is not yet offered in Flemish or Walloon but does support other commonly spoken languages in Belgium such as Dutch, English, French, and German. Google Assistant was available to Belgians previously but without localization. Now users can receive local news and weather as well as interact with Belgian businesses.
Localized Belgian Google Actions
Belgian service providers Proximus and Telenet have both launched Google Assistant Actions that enable users to check their data usage and account balances. According to Telecom Paper reporting:
“Customers need to tell the Assistant they want to talk to Proximus and then the first time speak their customer ID details. After that they can ask questions such as how much of their monthly bundle has been used, is a new invoice available, how much does roaming cost or contact Proximus…Telenet is also adding support for Google Assistant to its TV platform. Customers can speak into their phone commands to control the TV, such as turn on the device, find a programme, pause or play and start recording.”
Data News identified several other local Belgian businesses and services also supporting Google Assistant for today’s launch. These include the national train service, NMBS, which carries similar information as the website and mobile app. Also, “Bpost made an action around tracking packages, Colruyt lets you create shopping lists via Assistant, and the RMI has a chatbot that reads the weather forecast and answers questions.” Tim van de Rijdt, a product manager for Google Assistant, told data news that there is no scheduled launch date for the Google Home smart speaker in the country at this time. Google has typically launched its smart speakers 3-6 months after introducing Google Assistant into a country through mobile devices. Both Android and iOS smartphones can access Google Assistant as part of the launch.
Global March of Google Assistant Localization
In 2017 and 2018, every new language supported was a big deal for all of the voice assistants. Google has made these rollouts seem commonplace with 29 countries supported with some localization and dozens of local dialects. Earlier this month, simplified Chinese was added for speakers from mainland China that complemented the traditional Chinese commonly used in Hong Kong and Taiwan.