Google new Artificial Intelligence search lets you ‘talk to books’


Instead of judging a book by its cover, judge it by asking questions and getting replies. With Artificial Intelligence this fantasy could possibly come true.

Google has introduced ‘Talk to books’ which allows a reader to communicate with a book using a machine learning-trained algorithm that gives answers to questions with relevant passages from human written text.

Developed with machine learning, it uses ‘natural language understanding’ of words and phrases.

“With Talk to Books, we provide an entirely new way to explore books. You make a statement or ask a question, and the tool finds sentences in books that respond, with no dependence on keyword matching. In a sense you are talking to the books, getting responses which can help you determine if you’re interested in reading them or not,” said Ray Kurzweil, Director of Engineering at Google Research in a statement

Once you type a question into Talk to Books, the tool searches all the sentences in over 1,00,000 books to find the ones that respond to your input.

It will generate a list of likely responses with the pertinent passage in bold.

Furthermore, there are no predefined rules bounding the relationship between what you put in and the results you get.

Pallav Bajjuri, founder of Kahaniya, a story telling start-up in Hyderabad, said that talking to books opens up a new dimension of book discovery.

“On the face of it, Talk to Books will be an awesome platform for readers to discover books. Presently, we mostly rely on friends and automated recommendations from Amazon or similar platforms to discover books to read. If these recommendations turn out to be actually relevant and good, authors and publishers will also benefit from increased business,” he said.

Talk to Books will also help people doing research as citations and such will become a lot easier. This platform can tackle any query you have, however insignificant or abstract it may be.

Pratap Chowdary Potakamuri, CEO of PUBGEN, which distributes books globally, says, “Talking to books is going to revolutionise the way the world reads, especially in India, due to our reading habits. It is high time we improve readability here and Google’s new service is going to help us tremendously.  People will get answers from authentic experts instead of some random website.”

Google says that one might find books and passages that they didn’t expect, or the reason a particular passage was highlighted might not be obvious. It points out that one benefit of this is that the tool may help people discover unexpected authors and titles, and surface books in a way that is fresh and innovative.


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