Russian Yandex Debuts AI Assistant 'Alice' On Android

Russian search giant Yandex announced its own artificial intelligence assistant earlier this week, introducing the world to Alice and signaling that it's keen on following in the footsteps of the likes of Google, Amazon, and Alibaba, all of which debuted digital companions meant to complement their existing online services. Alice is integrated into the Yandex app for Android which is essentially the company's Google app rival and works in much the same way, albeit its integration with Alice is significantly more aggressive - the assistant is now represented by a large purple microphone icon on the main user interface of the Yandex app which will also listen to everything you say by default and wait for the trigger phrase "privet, Alice" ("hi, Alice") to activate the AI assistant. Note that the name Alice actually sounds more like "Alissa" in Russian so you may have to change your pronunciation if you're seeking to activate Alice by voice. Unsurprisingly, you won't be able to do much if you don't speak Russian, currently the only language supported by Alice.

Much like the Google Assistant and Alexa, Alice seeks to facilitate many everyday tasks like checking the weather, exploring a local restaurant selection, and playing music. You're able to ask Alice for directions, tell her to set up a reminder, or perform a web search using Yandex's search engine. The Russian internet company says that the assistant is backed by robust machine learning algorithms which are constantly getting better as you use them and doesn't require you to phrase your commands or inquiries in any particular manner as Alice shouldn't have issues with understanding the contents of any regular informal speech.

If you'd like to use Alice without having your Yandex app listening to you whenever it's open, you're able to revoke its microphone privileges in the system Settings app on your device or simply not allow them in the first place after you install it. Alice is part of the latest stable build of the Yandex app which can be downloaded from the Google Play Store by referring to the banner below, with the service supporting most contemporary smartphones and tablets.

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Dominik Bosnjak

Senior Writer
Dominik started at AndroidHeadlines in 2016. He’s approaching his first full decade in the media industry, with his background being primarily in technology, gaming, and entertainment. These days, his focus is more on the political side of the tech game, as well as data privacy issues, with him looking at both of those through the prism of Android. Contact him at [email protected]