- The new Xiaomi virtual assistant is called Xiao Ai.
- Remarkably similar to Google Assistant, Xiao Ai checks the weather, controls smart appliances, does math, and performs translations.
- Due to cultural and language barriers, Xiao Ai will probably do better in China than other English-based rivals like Siri and Alexa.
While Google’s stance on China has certainly softened a bit over the years, it’s evident that the search giant isn’t going to fully integrate into Chinese society any time soon. Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri work in China, though many features are either limited or useless in China due to language barriers, cultural barriers, or lack of integrating hardware.
Xiaomi knows this, which is why it’s created its own virtual assistant, Xiao Ai, unveiled today in a promotional YouTube video. It looks like it beat Huawei to the punch, since we learned that Huawei is also developing its own virtual assistant specifically for the Chinese market.
You can watch the video in full below:
In the video, Xiao Ai is depicted as being remarkably similar to Google Assistant, right down to the colorful bars that appear when you are issuing voice commands. Users in the video ask Xiao Ai to open apps, take photos, translate menus, check the weather, turn on the lights, start a vacuum robot, and all sorts of other commands that Google Assistant (and Siri and Alexa) can do.
However, the significant difference here is that the assistant is built with the Chinese language in mind, rather than based on English and then translated. That will make it more helpful in China than any other virtual assistant on offer pretty much automatically.
Plus, Xiao Ai will easily integrate with the many smart home appliances Xiaomi offers, like the vacuum robot featured in the video. Chinese citizens having access to a native voice-controlled smart home is something that will most likely be new to many.
That all being said, it’s hard to think about Xiao Ai getting a foothold anywhere else outside of China, as by now most people in the West have already integrated with their virtual assistant of choice. But Xiaomi will likely have a lock on China with its new AI-capable smartphones, smart appliances, and now Xiao Ai. That is, until Huawei catches up.