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Japanese

InBrief
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Google Lens support arrives for Japanese

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Gboard v8.1 makes space for OCR, prepares Pixel-specific theme, enhanced Japanese keyboard, and more [APK Teardown]

The latest update to Gboard is making the rounds, and this one appears to be taking another stab at enabling the clipboard manager. Meanwhile, this update also sets the stage for additional features to be added to the overflow menu, an improved Japanese keyboard, a Pixel-specific theme, and more.

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Google releases new Playground AR emoji pack for Japanese phrases [APK Download]

Google isn't showing any signs of slowing down with its AR emoji venture, now called Playground or Playmoji. Just last month, the new Childish Gambino set dropped and a couple of days ago Cody discovered signs of the app working on AR shopping, animals, answers, and something related to International Women's Day. Now a new set has surfaced, this time for Japanese phrases.

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[Update: Assistant actions get new voices on March 4th] Google Assistant improves support for French, German, Korean, and other languages

As with most of Google's products, Assistant is an incredibly powerful tool in the United States, but its functionality is limited in other countries. This is understandable, since there are dozens of other major languages worldwide with countless dialects, and speech recognition for each variation can take a while to develop. At Mobile World Congress, Google announced a massive expansion for Assistant's language support.

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Google Assistant routines are now official in many languages/countries (but not Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, or Sweden)

Google Assistant routines can save you a lot of time by executing multiple commands in succession after you say a simple sentence. They started off as "My Day," which brought a simple morning routine, but then multiple routines were enabled, as were custom routines, and finally scheduled routines. But until recently, they were only officially available if you set your Assistant to use English (US). Now, they're supported in many more language/country combinations.

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Google's designer Pixel 3 cases in Japan will include their own AR experiences

Google's first-party cases might be a bit on the chunky side, but they're nice enough to make up for the added thickness, and customers in Japan will be getting an extra benefit with their phone protection. Google's doing a whole collection of regionally exclusive (and super snazzy) cases for the country, and they come with their own AR experiences.

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Your Google Assistant is bilingual starting today — at least, for any pair of six specific languages

Google's Assistant has been making great strides in both functionality and speech recognition since its original release in the far off year of 2016. In fact, Google says that it has improved so much that, starting today, it can recognize two different languages interchangeably. Your Google Home is now bilingual, something no other digital assistant can do — at least, since Google's other assistant, Google Now. But there is a caveat: it supports only two languages among a list of six.

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Gboard update adds support for 40 additional languages, sticker packs

Gboard—the virtual keyboard app from Google—has received an update adding support for 40 additional languages, including Japanese. Although Google has long offered a separate input method for Japanese and other languages which do not have a writing system based on Latin script, support for additional languages has been added in gradually since Gboard launched on Android in December 2016. With this update, Gboard now covers over 120 languages.

This update also adds support for stickers by default. Previously, Gboard included stickers only if Allo was already installed, and you made or downloaded stickers for use with that app. Now, four default sticker packs are included in Gboard, even if Allo is not installed.

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Actions on Google now supports French, Korean, Japanese, and German

I'll be honest, I'm having trouble keeping track of the distinction Google seems to be trying to make between "Apps for the Google Assistant," "Actions on Google," and the Google Assistant. I get that the ambiguous double name for the former expands the capabilities of the latter for developer use. But, frankly, the difference in marketing seems entirely unnecessary and overly confusing, both for consumers and for myself.

Also, Actions/Apps for Google now supports four new languages.

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Google Home is coming to Japan next week

Home-related news continues. Google has just announced at its event that Google Home will be coming to Japan next week. The company originally made the promise back at I/O, but now we've got a definite timeframe. Looks like they just missed the original "end of summer" expectation. 

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