Beeb BETA FAQs
Beeb is the voice assistant from the BBC. You can speak to it to get live and on demand radio, news, local weather, music mixes, and the BBC’s wide range of podcasts.
Building the technology to provide the first public service voice assistant doesn’t come easy so that’s why the BBC voice team has joined forces with Microsoft.
Beeb brings together the technological expertise of both organisations, built with the values of trust and transparency that people expect from the BBC.
Beeb is classed as a BETA because it’s a very early day, experimental version of the voice assistant. This means that not all features and functionality you might expect to find will be there. The idea of releasing this first ‘beta’ version of Beeb is to get crucial feedback that can help us shape what the final product looks like and how it works.
Audience feedback is a really important part of how we develop our products. We want to learn from how people use this first version, so that we can then understand what additions will be useful in future and how we can improve what it already does.
A ‘beta’ product means we can also train Beeb’s speech recognition so it can become better at picking up the ‘wake word’ (OK Beeb) and understanding language generally.
At this stage, Beeb is only available to UK-based members of Microsoft’s Windows Insider Programme (a programme where Microsoft users can get early access to the latest features, news, and updates before they are released.)
We will be making Beeb available to the public soon so keep your eyes peeled.
- OS - Windows 10 version 19041 or higher
- Architecture - ARM,x64
- Microphone - Built-in or external
- Speaker- Built-in or external
We’d love to hear what you thought of the experience. We’ll make every effort to address any issues and take on board suggestions as we hear about them. Whether that’s a bug or a thought on what we should stop, start and continue in the product experience, drop us a line at Beeb.Feedback@bbc.co.uk
We’ll be continuing to offer our full range of content on the Alexa BBC Skill – Beeb will complement this, rather than replacing it.
However, with an assistant of our own we will have the freedom to experiment and with new programmes and build our own features and experiences. This means we can be more ambitious in the content and features we provide through voice experiences.
You can ask Beeb for your favourite radio stations, podcasts, news and weather updates as well as fun jokes and quirky facts from BBC Comedy writers. Try saying some of these phrases to Beeb.
“OK Beeb, update me”
Say this to get a snapshot of the local weather and latest news headlines, any time of the day.
“OK Beeb, play Radio 1”
Say the name of your favourite BBC radio station to listen live.
“OK Beeb, play Desert Island Discs”
Say the name of your favourite BBC radio show or podcast.
“OK Beeb, tell me a joke”
Say this to hear material from BBC comedy writers.
“OK Beeb, tell me a fact”
Say this to hear quirky facts from QI’s Sandi Toksvig.
Beeb only listens when it hears the wakeword 'OK Beeb'. However, sometimes it can be activated it if hears something that sounds like the wakeword. By training Beeb’s speech recognition it should become better at picking up the wakeword and understanding language generally.
When you say ‘OK Beeb’ we’ll capture what you say as text transcripts. This mean we can read what you say to Beeb so we can check Beeb is responding in the right way and improve it, if it’s getting it wrong.
For BETA launch, we won't make any audio recordings of any voices that talk to Beeb.
Yes, we are partnering with Microsoft, using their speech recognition services to provide the Beeb service to you.
The transcriptions of what has been said to Beeb will be used by a specific team of BBC employees and our partner to check and improve the speech recognition service that powers Beeb.
We have carefully selected our partner and only share with them what they need to provide the service, making sure they keep people's data secure.
The data we share won’t contain any user identifiers, your account details or location information.
You need to be 13+ to access and use Beeb.
In this version of Beeb we will display advisory guidance for content we feel might not be suitable for younger audiences.