Yandex Launches Digital Assistant Called Alice

Alice has near-human levels of Russian comprehension

The Russian internet giant Yandex has launched a digital assistant called Alice. Alice is available on the Yandex mobile app and will be coming soon to the mobile browser. It has been compared to Western equivalents such as Alexa and Siri. Alice can understand and speak Russian and is able to answer users’ queries by drawing on information from Yandex’s vast search engine index, as well as Yandex’s news, weather and maps services. Yandex claims that Alice has near-human levels of Russian language comprehension and is able to pick up on contextual cues to work out the meanings behind sometimes unclear questions. The digital assistant is the first ever to have been created with the Russian language in mind, which puts it in a good position in the Russian market. It is already in an advantageous position, given that Yandex is the dominant search engine in the country with 65% of the market share. There are rumours that Yandex is working to develop a home assistant similar to Echo or Google Home, but the company has so far declined to confirm this. 

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