The last thing any of us expected at Google I/O was an AI demo involving a conversation with a sentient paper plane, but Google, being Google, delivered the unexpected. The demo showcased Google's brand-new LaMDA conversational AI, which could now reportedly power an upcoming Google Search feature: teaching foreign languages to users.
The project is internally known as Tivoli and started a couple of years ago within the Google Research unit, according to a report by The Information. We don't know how this feature will exactly work or look like, but it could be released to the public before the end of this year.
The modus operandi behind teaching a foreign language via Google Search is to apply LaMDA's conversational skills to a practical, low-risk scenario and make the model better over time as it continues to interact with users.
LaMDA in action at Google I/O 2021.
Apart from Google Search, Google Assistant and YouTube could also eventually receive the functionality. The report illustrates an example where YouTube could generate language quizzes to assess the viewer's understanding of concepts after watching videos.
As stated earlier, we could see the feature be announced before the end of 2021. However, there is also a chance that it doesn't pan out as expected. One reason could be the antitrust issues that arise from baking a foreign-language teaching function within a search engine that enjoys a dominant position in the market.