It seems like Alexa and Google Assistant are noticeably less likely to understand non-American accents, at least according to a recently published research. This information comes from The Washington Post, and it’s based on the results that two teams of researchers have come up with. According to the findings, Alexa and Google Assistant are about 30-percent less likely to understand non-American accents.
Researchers have tested thousands of voice commands dictated by more than 100 people across 20 cities. The overall accuracy rate for Spanish, Chinese, and Indian people was approximately 80 percent. According to Rachael Tatman, a Kaggle data scientist, this points to bias in the data used to train both Alexa and Google Assistant. She also added that Alexa and Google Assistant are providing the best results, if the commands are coming from “white, highly educated, upper-middle-class Americans, probably from the West Coast”. That is not all that surprising considering that it all started on the West Coast of the US, as that is where Google’s headquarters is located, and that’s where the development of Alexa started as well.
According to the data, Spanish speakers were misinterpreted six percent more often compared to people from the West Coast, while Google Home speakers were three percent less accurate when it comes to people with Southern accents… once again compared to people from the West Coast. When it comes to Alexa, it performed two percent worse for people from the Midwest. Globalme, a language-localization firm, decided to test 70 commands (for both Google Home and Alexa) on people from the West Coast, East Coast, Midwest, South of the US, India, Spain, and China, and the results are quite interesting. West Coast came out on top, followed by the Midwest and East Coast, and the South of the US was last-placed, at least as far as the US is concerned. India did noticeably better than China and Spain, and you can check out the chart down below.