Google Home. Photo: File.
INTERNATIONAL – Google said Monday that its AI-powered Google Assistant will be installed on 1 billion devices in Android and iOS smartphones, TVs, headphones, tablets and even cars by the end of January. 

It said the number of active users of Google Assistant has grown four times over the past year, up from 500 million last May. 

The Mountain View, California-based company said the Assistant has learned to speak new languages and understand local cultures – it's now in nearly 30 languages of 80 countries, up from eight languages and 14 countries last year. 

The newest language skill that the Assistant acquired in 2018 was Chinese Mandarin, with which it can greet people with Ni Hao! (Hello!) in a language spoken by more than 1.4 billion people of the most populous country in the world. 

Google said the Assistant, which is part of a smart home, is now compatible with over 10,000 smart home devices from over 1,600 popular brands, and the number of the smart devices linked to the Google Assistant surged by six times over the last year. 

The Google Assistant was launched in 2016 on the Google Pixel phone, and it has since then been widely adopted on a huge amount of various devices, including laptops that come with a Google-built Chrome OS, which has full access to the Assistant. 

The Google announcement came just three days after its rival Amazon unveiled earlier last week that its Amazon Alexa devices had been sold for 100 million units. 

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