Google has announced that you’ll hear an Australian accent when you ask questions of the Google app and also when you’re getting turn-by-turn directions in Google Maps.
Google said: “Pulling together the new Aussie voice relied on a team of talented Australian linguists who helped create structural models of Australian pronunciation and intonation. And as you can hear above, this was particularly important to pronounce all those wonderful and complex Aussie place names out there—like Mullumbimby, Bouinderra, Maloolooba, Maroochydore, Stockinbingal, and many more. Leading up to the launch, the team checked the pronunciation of tens of thousands of Australian place names!”
On my testing it’s not done a bad job at all. Google has certainly done a good job with some of the more obscure place names. There’s a still a fair bit of stilted diction and some people might debate elements of the pronunciation, but that’s as much a problem with the way we all speak as it is with what Google’s done with it. There’s not really a perfectly standard Australian accent to work from.
And it’s not just speaking, Google will now understand you should you want to ask it gems such as “OK Google, take me to the nearest Maccas.”, “OK Google, what’s the temperature like in Brissy?” [a sentence I’d struggle with without context], and “OK Google, show me pictures of quokka selfies.”