UK government adds 12,000 snippets of info to Alexa and Google Assistant

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The more precise Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant can be, the more useful they are – and with that in mind the UK government has added a hefty 12,000 pieces of information to the digital assistants.

That means not only can you ask your smart speaker how the weather forecast is looking or how tall the Tower of London is, you can also ask when the next bank holiday is scheduled for or what the current minimum wage is.

The data also covers questions like "what age can I retire?" and "how do I apply for a passport?" – all the sort of stuff you might search a government website for (the Gov.uk sites are the primary source for the new data).

"This is all about making life easier for people who need to access information about government services," Minister for Implementation Oliver Dowden said in a press statement. "And with millions now using smart speakers, I want government to keep up and work smarter too."

More on the way

The new information data dump is the result of six months of testing, planning and preparation, and should be live now on devices enabled with Alexa or Google Assistant – there's no need to run a manual update.

Government agencies say more information is on the way too, and smart speakers could soon be able to give you details of how to get married and how to renew your car tax.

It's more evidence of the growing intelligence of these smart assistants, which to begin with could run basic web searches for data and that was about it.

Nowadays they're far more nuanced and comprehensive – but the most accurate and useful results come when information is specifically organised and added, as is the case with the UK government here.

Via Android Police