If you're an American and you've heard the tongue-twisting country music ballad "I've Been Everywhere," odds are that you've heard the most popular version from Johnny Cash, or perhaps the earlier version by the unequaled Hank Snow. There have been dozens of adaptations of the song, for everywhere from Texas to Singapore. But the original was written by Geoff Mack way back in 1959 and popularized by Lucky Starr, and the first set of lyrics was exclusively tailored to cities, towns, and regions in Australia. The song featured such multi-syllabic municipalities as Megalong, Tamborine, Woodenbong, and Grong Grong.
What better way, then, for Google to show off the new Australian version of its synthesized text-to-speech voice than with a digital recreation of the original "I've Been Everywhere?" Check out the video below to hear Google's synthetic voice going through the song's lyrics like a native:
Google tends to focus on as many different languages as possible for its voice tools, but dialects and accents are often just as important. When Google Now was just getting started, users in the UK and Ireland, Australia and New Zealand, South Africa and India, and other places where English accents diverge from North American speech patterns often struggled with voice detection. Now that voice detection seems to have been mostly sorted out, it looks like the company is focusing on making users more comfortable with text-to-speech. Expect more dialect variations, hopefully including some non-English options, sometime in the future.
And if you're not a fan of Australian country music, no worries. At least it wasn't "Tie Me Kangaroo Down," right?