Google Launches New English Tutoring Tool To Compete With Duolingo


Google is set to challenge popular language learning app Duolingo with the release of a new English tutoring tool integrated into Google Search. Designed to help users practice and improve their English speaking skills, the feature aims to provide interactive speaking practice and personalized feedback for language learners translating to or from English. Initially rolling out for Android devices in Argentina, Colombia, India, Indonesia, Mexico, and Venezuela, Google plans to expand the tool to more countries and languages in the future.

Key Takeaway

Google has introduced a new English tutoring tool on Google Search, providing language learners with interactive speaking practice and personalized feedback to improve their English speaking skills.

A Personalized and Interactive Learning Experience

The new English speaking practice feature on Google Search presents users with prompts and asks them to speak their answers using provided vocabulary words. Each practice session lasts 3 to 5 minutes and offers personalized feedback. Learners also have the option to sign up for daily reminders to continue practicing and advance to more challenging stages. The new tool focuses on semantic feedback, indicating the relevance and comprehensibility of responses, while also providing grammar improvement recommendations and alternative ways to respond.

During practice sessions, learners can tap on unfamiliar words to see translations in the context of the conversation. The tool is designed to complement other language learning resources such as personal tutoring, mobile apps, and classes, offering learners an additional tool to enhance their language learning journey.

The Technology Behind the Tutoring Tool

Developing these features required significant AI and machine learning engineering. Google’s Translate team created the Deep Aligner model to connect words and suggest translations. Research groups adapted grammar correction models to work on speech transcriptions, catering specifically to users with accented speech. Google’s research teams developed models for semantic feedback and to estimate the complexity of sentences, phrases, and words, providing appropriate challenges based on learners’ abilities.

The language tutoring experience on Google Search is a collaborative effort involving linguists, teachers, ESL/EFL pedagogical experts, and other language learning partners. This collaboration ensures a mix of human-expert content, AI-assisted content, and content reviewed by in-house experts.

Google’s Expansion and Future Plans

Google has expressed its intention to expand the tutoring tool to more countries, languages, and partners. Although Google’s blog post suggests that the feature is primarily meant to enhance Google Search, it remains to be seen if the company plans to directly challenge established language learning apps like Duolingo, Memrise, and Babbel. Google has previously ventured into language learning and education tools, and its ongoing efforts may indicate a deepening dedication to the field.

Whether Google’s current and previous language learning tools will be driven by profit or other motives is yet to be determined. With the immediate expansion plans outlined for the new tutoring tool, Google’s strategy will likely depend on the popularity and reception of the service.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *