People in Russia can now ask the Alice voice assistant for the odds before making a bet through the online gambling platform Fonbet. Alice, created by Russian tech giant Yandex, can answer questions about sports betting, including making predictions that the company claims are 90% accurate thanks to its use of Fonbet’s database.
Alice relies on information provided by Fonbet to answer thousands of different questions about sports betting and how to place bets online. Users can ask the voice assistant for any current special deals, learn betting terminology, and hear Alice’s predictions based on current odds. Alice can even bet against the user, telling them that it disagrees. The Fonbet voice app was initially added to Alice late last year but now draws more than 5,000 users a month according to the betting platform. Bets can’t be placed by asking Alice as of now. Instead, the voice assistant will forward to a mobile device a link for actually placing the bet, once the user is registered with Fonbet.
“We were looking for a tool to improve a customer’s experience and integrate Fonbet in their daily life,” Fonbet’s Alexey Khobot said in a statement. “Millions of people use Alice to find the fastest route, play music, order pizza or find any information on the internet. By adding the skill Fonbet to the voice assistant, our clients can get information about odds and matches using their regular service. Another reason why we created this skill within the voice assistant was to attract new clients, especially those who were not familiar with betting before.”
CULTURE AND LEARNING
Beyond encouraging people to use Fonbet for gambling, the company said the voice app is about educating people who find the world of sports betting too complex to follow. The specialized lingo and occasionally dizzying array of bet types might turn off potential customers, so a virtual assistant who can clarify what’s happening makes sense for Fonbet. While it shares some similarities with the fantasy sports skills available on Alexa and Google Assistant in terms of exploring sports statistics, it’s still not the same as the voice apps built by companies like StatMuse that can connect users with analysts ahead of games.
The betting is only one of many third-party apps on the platform, but it speaks to the shape that Yandex’s voice assistant is taking as it becomes more popular. Alice has more than 30 million monthly users, mostly on mobile devices, and Yandex has been working to up the voice assistant’s abilities at a steady clip. Most recently, Alice gained the ability to draw paintings upon command. The AI, trained on pictures and what they are supposed to mean, then relies on that to make its own creation, whether of a landscape or an abstract image of emotion. Alice also acts as a music critic now through the Yandex Music streaming service, offering information about a song and its context as it plays.