VentureBeat’s Bots Channel tracks the most important news and analysis from the exploding field of bots and messaging. Each week, we select the top stories and present them in in our free weekly newsletter, BotBeat. We include news stories by VentureBeat staff, guest articles from leading figures in the bots community, and a good number of posts from a wide variety of other outlets. You can subscribe to our BotBeat newsletter to receive this information in your inbox every Thursday.

Here’s this week’s newsletter:

This week, reviews of Google’s new phone were everywhere. The Pixel invasion is on! VentureBeat and others considered things like screen resolution, camera, battery life, and so on.  What concerned me, however, was how the new device would integrate Google Assistant.

In thinking about voice-activated intelligent assistants, we’ve written about how great it would be if you could interact with Siri in a truly hands-free fashion. Amazon’s Alexa offers a giant leap — no need to unlock a device. And much like the Nexus, the Pixel offers hands-free unlocking, and thus access to Google Assistant, via the trusted voice feature. While not novel, the interaction feels easy and efficient. Maybe because Google Assistant‘s speech recognition is better than Alexa and Siri?

Yet both Alexa and Google Assistant — and for that matter, Siri, too — come up short in terms of recognizing the voices and preferences of multiple people. Alexa doesn’t know who you are, and it can’t distinguish your preferences from those of your husband. With the Pixel, as Jordan Novet wrote, “You’ll only be able to get information tied to the Google account with which you’re logged into the Google Assistant.” In other words, there’s no easy voice interface on Pixel to manage both your work and personal lives, just as the Echo doesn’t know you like novels by Katie Crouch and your husband prefers Jim Harrison. Let’s watch (and listen) as this hurdle is resolved and new opportunities for conversational interfaces unfold.

As always, please send news tips to Khari Johnson and guest post submissions to John Brandon. Be sure to visit our Bots Channel for comprehensive news on bots and messaging.

Thanks for reading,

— Blaise Zerega

Editor in Chief

P.S.  Please enjoy this video of Ethan Bloch, CEO of savings bot Digit, from the recent Leaders Conference.

From the Bots Channel

 

google_pixel_messaging_appsPixel perfectly presents Google’s messaging app disaster

OPINION: We’ve been watching Google’s messaging strategy of four separate apps unfold for months now. There’s Allo and Duo, the company’s mobile-only messaging and video apps for consumers, Messenger for all your Android texting needs, and Hangouts for all your enterprise and desktop video conferencing needs. Google’s Pixel phones (read our review) perfectly portray what an […]

Read the full story

 

Google Assistant on the Google Pixel XL.

10 things I hate about the Google Pixel’s Assistant

Google Assistant is Google’s long-overdue response to Apple’s Siri virtual assistant. It’s available by pushing the home button at the bottom of the new Google Pixel smartphones. It can send emails for you, recite your calendar events, open apps, tell jokes, play games with you, translate words, turn on music, provide information about movies showing […]

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Robot. Credit: Khari Johnson

Microsoft says its speech recognition is now on par with humans

Trained neural networks at Microsoft are now as good at recognizing the human voice as humans are, researchers announced today. In a report released Monday, researchers pitted Microsoft’s NIST 2000 automated system against professional transcriptionists and found for the first time a higher error rate among humans than computers. “This marks the first time that human parity has been reported […]

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Chatimity team at Freshdesk headquarters in San Francisco.

Freshdesk acquires Chatimity to make enterprise bots

EXCLUSIVE: Customer support software company Freshdesk announced today that it has acquired chat app and bot creator Chatimity. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Chatimity is a chat app with 3 million registered users that makes business-to-consumer bots and A.I.-powered bots like MITI, which uses natural language processing to automate thousands of conversations at once. Along […]

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YouTube star Casey Neistat has launched a personal bot.

5 bots to try this week: Casey Neistat, icon8, Azkarbot, DoNotPay Housing, and HelloVote

As the U.S. presidential campaign rounds the home stretch, all political parties are hoping for large turnouts — which means registering people to vote. Fortunately, there’s a bot for that, and it’s on this week’s list of top 5 bots. So, register to vote, watch the final presidential debate on Wednesday evening, and head to the […]

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bots, chatbots, humanoidMitsuku chatbot wins Loebner Prize for most humanlike A.I., yet again

With all the hustle and bustle going on in the world of chatbots at the moment, one crucial event that is very relevant to the future of A.I. has gone relatively unnoticed. If you are interested in chatbots and A.I., you may have heard about the Loebner Prize, which was created by Hugh Loebner and […]

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Related coverage

Trump’s Twitter debate lead was ‘swelled by bots’

More than four times as many tweets were made by automated accounts in favour of Donald Trump around the first US presidential debate as by those backing Hillary Clinton, a study says. (via The BBC)

Read the full story

White House encourages local governments to embrace chatbots

The Obama Administration receives thousands of emails, phone calls and letters every day. And, since August, American citizens have been able tocontact the president through Facebook as well, thanks to the White House’s Messenger bot. Now, the administration is going a step forward and releasing the bot’s source code onto the internet for anyone to use. (via Engadget)

Read the full story

Machine Learning-Powered Chatbots Move Beyond Apps

Users are looking for more than the humble SMS text message to communicate with friends and family. Our communication requirements now demand group messaging capabilities with the ability to seamlessly share an image or video on the move. (via LinkedIn)

Read the full story

Why Chat May Be King Of The New Mobile Landscape

Like tens of millions of teens across the world, 15-year-old Emma rarely surfs the web or tries out new apps. Instead, she conducts her digital life through a collection of social apps, from Facebook to iMessage to Instagram to Snapchat. On all of them, she’s messaging. (via Fast Company)

Read the full story

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