Last summer, The Guardian was reporting a surprising move from the BBC.
The UK public broadcaster was reportedly developing its own smart assistant.
Now, we know that the BBC assistant is called Beeb.
Before you mumble and call the BBC something like bell-ends, like any proper Brit is prone to do whenever the broadcaster spends public money, you should know that this smart assistant is designed to actually understand a wide variety of accents.
Considering the UK’s multitude of accents and classic problems with voice recognition (with this famous sketch poking fun of the plight of a pair of Scots in a voice-controlled elevator), this BBC project is an amazing advance for inclusivity and accessibility.
Right now, the BBC Beeb is in an early version and available in the Microsoft Windows Insider Program to UK-based members.
The voice assistant is powered by Microsoft technology, with Azure AI being used by the BBC to build the infrastructure used by Beeb.
Right now, Beeb can assist you with music mixes, podcasts and weather updates, like most assistants.
However, there are some fun Easter eggs as well.
Just ask Beeb for a QI fact and the programme’s Sandi Toskvig herself will reply with some fascinating trivia.
Since we’re not in the UK, so we’re unable to access it, please do yell “Eleven” at the Beeb for a bit and report back with the response!