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Need a friend? Google has a tool that lets you “talk to books.”

Emily Temple

September 14, 2022, 9:55am

Hey nerds. Have you ever wished you could talk to your books? Or rather, have you ever wished they could talk back? Today I learned that Google has a tool that aims to help you do just that. Sort of, anyway.

With Google’s Talk to Books, you are prompted to “say something to books”—and the AI scans over 100,000 books to find a response. As you might expect, sometimes the replies are good, sometimes not so good. (Just like a real friend!) You can also filter the books it draws from in case you, like some of us around here, only really want to hear from novels.

“Mastering Talk to Books may take some experimentation,” Google wants us to know. “Although it has a search box, its objectives and underlying technology are fundamentally different than those of a more traditional search experience. It’s simply a demonstration of research that enables an AI to find statements that look like probable responses to your input rather than a finely polished tool that would take into account the wide range of standard quality signals. You may need to play around with it to get the most out of it.”

Okay then, let’s see. What would I like to say to my books?

How do you feel?

Will democracy make it through the decade?

I’m tired.

Well, at least we’re on the same page with that one.

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