Alexa, Google Assistant gain access to U.K. government information

Gov.UK wants to simplify the interactions of people with the government, making information understandable and accessible to everyone

Reports confirm that the U.K. government has made more than 12,000 pieces of information available on Gov.uk accessible to Alexa and Google Assistant users, enabling these two most popular digital assistants to answer questions about U.K. bank holidays, passports and more, starting this week.

Sources familiar with the matter informed that Government Digital Service (GDS) of U.K. is the cabinet office unit charged with streamlining and maintaining online government information and services.

Jennifer Allum, Head of Gov.UK stated that they want to simplify the interactions of people with the government, making information understandable and accessible to everyone. These results have potential as voice services can be really an appropriate way to get information, specially for people who find phones and computers difficult to use, she said.

Apparently, Alexa and other intelligent assistants are looking to analyse and source data from he U.K. gov. In the previous summer, GDS selected Schema.org, which is a combined effort to improve the web by adding organized markup to web pages, for implementing schemas for news and informational articles and also promised to combine more precise answers into future and present Gov.UK content.

Sources further added that voice assistants are improving in their capability to provide correct answers to questions. In a study last year organized by Loup Ventures, it was shown that Google Assistant was able to answer only 88% out of 800 questions accurately versus Apple’s Siri which gave 75% correct answers, while Cortana answered correctly 63% and Alexa 73%.

Reportedly, over the past few months Amazon has made an intensive effort to supply Alexa with new data sources. During this summer, the company started sourcing hours of descriptions, operations and addresses from Yext, a data management platform that counts Marriott, Taco Bell, Rite Aid, Arby’s among its clients.

Amazon recently confirmed integration of Alexa with Wolfram Research, a company that creates computational technology to improve its science and math knowledge.

Source Credit: https://venturebeat.com/2019/04/21/u-k-google-assistant-and-alexa-users-can-now-ask-questions-about-passports-bank-holidays-and-more/