Month: June 2018

Flash briefing 16 – Ok, Google cántame Las Mañanitas

Google announced that users can now query their assistant in Spanish. It was already available in the Assistant in Android phones.  And now, Google Home and Google Home Mini are also available in Spanish in both Mexico and Spain. We ask it “Cual es el clima (What’s the weather)” and it replied with the weather information in English, presumably because my default language is English. They also introduced continued conversations, where you can ask more than one question without saying the invocation word.

And just 2 days ago Google Duplex, the famous demo presented at Google I/O  opened for testing. The company gave several small groups of journalists a chance to demo Duplex in which the assistant identify themselves and said the call was gonna be recorded. Google listened to the main critics about the concern of the system deceiving the caller by not identifying itself as not human. The company efforts in AI and audio is playing a main role in their strategy. Duplex could have a big impact as an assistant. We’ll wait for more tester to give a more thorough review. Thanks for listening. Find this show notes at

Flash briefing 15 – The possibilities of voice for city governments

The city of Ozark Missouri has its own voice in Alexa.

I’m gonna play near future oracle here. It seems to me that in time it makes a lot of sense that every city has a voice assistant in every main attraction area where visitors and locals can ask questions about the city and the different services that are link to the government. It would be really useful for tourists finding their way around the city, asking for schedules of theaters, city hall, museums. Others use cases may be file complains, request a permit, checking permit status, ask when a service will launch or when there are new job offers in the city government. Lots of possible uses and applications. I’m sure we’ll be walking to the city and you’ll get to a point where there’s an echo you can talk to. And that’s why Ozark Missouri skill it’s an breakthrough move in VoiceFirst. It’s the first city to have one in the US, and I’m expecting a lot more to come.

Thanks for listening. Before wrapping up today’s episode I want to invite you to subscribe to our weekly newsletter, every Thursday morning we deliver our digest of what we think is the most relevant in voice first. You can subscribe at or at Also, this show can be listened now in Google Play, iTunes, CatBox and TuneIn. And last news I promise, we just launched VoiceFirst Weekly Google Action. Go to your Assistant app on your android phone or your home mini and say Ok Google, talk to VoiceFirst Weekly to listen to the current day flash briefing. Alright! Have a productive, joyful day and we’ll talk tomorrow.

Flash briefing 14 – What category headings for job types is appropriate in voice technologies

Someone asked this week in the voice entrepreneur group

We need category headings for job types & Skills applicable to the world of Voice Development/businesses needs. Think: Roles, Skills, Technologies.

Voice is so new as a platform that we haven’t defined yet common domain for applicants and jobs. What’s so interesting and attractive to me about voice is not only the technical side of it, but the psychology and understanding of human communication that it’s so core to the whole technology.

The abilities required for voice apps, successful, engaging, million of users apps will be way different than those of a mobile application. Empathy will play a big role and creatives and writers. For me on a basic level of skill development you’ll need understanding and some hands on experience on NodeJS/JS/Python, JSON, APIs, basic understanding of databases. On the business side, there is a lot of room for creatives types, voice actors, writers, designers. Skills: empathy, design for voice interactions, understanding the difference of designing conversational interfaces vs websites and mobile apps. Voice is the interface to humans, and you’ll need to understand them.


Flash briefing 13 – Google launches Podcast app or Google is becoming Apple

It’s about time that Google launched an app for podcasts in Android. The company is betting hard on AI and audio focused content and this is showing it. We already submitted our podcast and the process seems fairly straightforward. Besides the podcast RSS URL, it is required to verify ownership of the email associated with the RSS feed. After that the approval process begins. We’ll report back when we hear from them.  

Continuing with the trend in naming service as literal as possible the app is called Google Podcasts and will recommend shows that users may like based on their listening profile. Google is predicting a lot of growth for podcast listeners. The coolest part, for us anyway, is that the app will come integrated with Google Assistant meaning you can search for and play podcasts wherever you have Assistant enabled. The company will sync your place in a podcast across all Google products, so if you listen to half a podcast on your way home from work, you can resume it on your Google Home once you’re back at the house. Google is playing Apple with this move to integrate across their products, which seems smart. And Apple is playing no one in this movement. To be fair, Apple has had podcast app for ages and played audio way before Google, exactly the reason why their silence and relative lack of action is telling.

According to an article by The Verge, in the coming months, Google plans to add a suite of features to Podcasts that are powered by artificial intelligence. One feature will add closed captions to your podcast, so you can read along as you listen. Eventually, you’ll be able to read real-time live transcriptions in the language of your choice, letting you “listen” to a podcast even if you don’t speak the same tongue as the host.

If I had one complaint is that they do not have a plan to release it on IOS, which, with them becoming Apple, makes sense.

Thanks for listening. Leave a comment on Twitter @voicefirstlabs or Instagram @voicefirstweekly and let us know what you think about the format of the flash briefing, the content or drop a question you will like us to discuss. Till next time!


Flash briefing 12 – Best practices for welcoming experience in voice apps

In voice, as in life, there are not second chances to make first impressions. Particularly at this stage in a technology that has not gained all users attention. To increase engagement with your voice app – start with the welcoming experience.

Voice adds a new dimension to how customers interact with your service, brand, or content. A customer’s first interaction with your skill will leave a lasting impression, which is why it’s important to ensure your welcome experience is positive and memorable. Also, providing a guided experience is vital for both new and repeat customers.  A welcome prompt (something as simple as “Welcome back to MySkill”) reinforces to the customer that they are in a skill experience, and that they correctly invoked the desired skill. Customers may not realize they invoked a skill and a generic question like “What would you like to do?” could cause confusion.

In addition to helping new customers have a positive experience, the welcome message is your first opportunity to establish your brand identity on Alexa and create a memorable first impression.

In a separate article by The Verge, How to get voice-enabled apps right in the age of smart everything there’s an interesting observation “It doesn’t make sense to only study what people want from voice interactions using traditional UX research methods like lab-based usability studies, and yet that’s what most brands are doing.”

Voice is the platform for context. And to better define what your users want or expect from your app you need to observe them on their environment and in the context they are in. Forget content, for a voice-first world, context is king and your welcoming experience is the door to that kingdom.

Thank you for listening and until next time. Find us @voicefirstlabs on Twitter, @voicefirstweekly on Instagram. 

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