Bizarre Google Assistant bug suggests it thinks Siri is a rat

It is unclear why the strange bug occurs

Adam Smith
Friday 04 December 2020 16:54 GMT
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Google’s voice assistant has a peculiar bug when you ask it about rodents – and one that may be unflattering to its competitors.

Users asking Google Assistant whether it likes rats, it appears to be subtly insulting the Siri voice assistant found on Apple’s smartphones and computers.

“Hey Google, do you like rats?” elicits the response “I’m very excited for Siri to get her own home” from the assistant.

“I want to find her a great housewarming gifts, maybe a puppy” it continues, followed with a dog emoji.

It is unclear why Google Assistant is responding in this way; the search giant told The Independent that it was investigating the issue.

The bug was shared with The Independent after one user, who owned rats, apparently asked the same question to their Amazon Echo speaker to see what Alexa would respond with.

They shared the response in a Facebook group for rat owners, and it was there when someone asked Google’s Assistant the question.

Many users responded that they had the same strange response, but others said they could not; The Independent has been able to recreate the bug on both Samsung and Google smartphones.

Google Assistant, and other voice assistants like it, convert a voice command into a text input, then from text into intent, and finally works out some possible answers to what has been posed to it.

This is done using complex algorithms and natural language processors which, while sophisticated, have gone wrong before.

In 2018, Apple’s Siri voice assistant infamously thought that Donald Trump was a penis, due to someone vandalizing the current president’s Wikipedia page and Siri pulling the information from there.

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