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BBC launches voice assistant that will learn regional accents


It's a highly frustrating moment talking to a voice assistant that doesn't understand your regional accent. But a new voice assistant launched by the BBC will learn UK regional accents to ensure you don't have to attempt to alter your accent in order to be understood. That voice assistant is called Beeb -- a nod to the BBC's nickname -- and it's just been released in beta form for a select group of users to try out. Those users are UK-based members of Microsoft's Windows Insider Programme, a group of early adopters who test new tech and suggest improvements. Beeb can play BBC radio, music, podcasts, news, and weather.

The BBC's Beeb voice assistant is ready for testing on PC


Last year the BBC announced it was working on its own voice assistant, called "Beeb," designed to help customers take advantage of voice assistant technology regardless of their accent. Existing assistants still have issues understanding accents, and nowhere is this truer than Britain, which has a broad range of accents despite its small geographic size. Now, Beeb is going into beta on PC. The early version of the software will be available to UK-based members of Microsoft's Windows Insider program (download the app from the Microsoft Store here). Microsoft is actually playing a pivotal role in the development of Beeb, with its Azure AI services being used by the BBC to build the infrastructure behind the platform.

Cortana vs. Siri: Microsoft Revamps AI Assistant In An Attempt To One-Up Apple's iOS Assistant

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Microsoft finally launched its promised overhaul of the Cortana app for iOS this Friday. The Redmond giant kept its word that it will put out a revamped version of its app, which will simplify the way people use its AI assistant. Other implementations included in the update are minor, but they are still conspicuous. Given these changes, does Cortana now match or even surpass Apple's native voice assistant Siri? Microsoft's new Cortana is version 2.0.

Siri vs Cortana vs Google Now vs Amazon Echo: Which is the best voice control tech?


Which is the best iPhone voice control technology? And which is the best Mac voice control? Which mobile platform - or speaker setup - offers the best voice control technology: Siri, Cortana, Google Now or Amazon Echo's Alexa? Siri has made a lot of progress in the last couple of years, developing into an impressive digital assistant that can handle all sorts of tasks on your iOS devices, on the latest Apple TV and - once macOS Sierra launches in the autumn - on Mac as well. This last step is long overdue: Siri's absence on the Mac has been a glaring omission for years, especially as Microsoft has had its own Cortana voice-tech running on Windows PCs since the launch of Windows 10 last year.

Early version of Cortana on Windows 10 leaked via video

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Via rumors and other leaks, we've known for a while now that Microsoft's digital assistant, Cortana, should appear in Windows 10. Now, a video appears to prove it. WinBeta obtained the code to either Cortana or a leaked build with the Cortana executables built in, and gave Cortana a spin. Because the assistant isn't actually connected to the cloud services, Cortana throws up an error message when it's time for her to do anything truly useful. It's also early days as far as the UI is concerned: Cortana looks a little rough in this version, but she'll be spiffed up by the final release, we'd bet.