Alexa and Google Home can sometimes be more trouble than they’re worth. And we don’t just mean the virtual assistants butting into conversations nobody asked them to join. For many people with accents or who simply want to ask Alexa/Google Home to play Arcángel (instead of Arc-angel) or Juan Gabriel (instead of Wan Gab-ree-el), it can be difficult to communicate with the voice-controlled assistant. While this may elicit feelings of frustration and maybe even some laughter, it’s an issue because it means a large percentage of people cannot effectively use these devices.
As the Washington Post reports in its recent “accent gap” study, Alexa and Google Home have the most difficulty understanding people with Chinese- and Spanish-accented English. Chinese and Spanish have the most speakers in the world, so many non-native English learners are, therefore, left behind.
Though this article confirmed this accent bias, it’s something people have long complained on via social media. So if Alexa or Google Home has not understood your Spanish-accented English, just know you’re not alone. Check out a few tweets below.