Voice input technologies have been present in Google’s products for some time, including Voice Search, Voice Input and Voice Actions for mobile phones, enabling users to speak their web searches, compose emails and SMS by voice, direct calling for business and ask phones to play certain songs, and even automatically transcribing captions on YouTube videos. The latter faced some issues with automatic-captioning at start, but Google is working hard to improve the services so as to increase the quantity of media content – news broadcasts and live transmissions.
Google’s latest acquisition, Phonetic Arts, is meant to improve speech recognition capabilities. The deal demonstrates that they are very dedicated to interacting with technology in a new way. Speech recognition is becoming an important aspect of Google Search, especially for smartphones and Android devices. They have started with Google Translate, which ‘speaks’ translated text in multiple languages, and the possibility to listen to navigation instructions while driving.
Phonetic Arts, the latest acquisition we have mentioned earlier, is a speech synthesis company based in Cambridge, England. Phonetic Arts’ team of researchers and engineers work at the cutting edge of speech synthesis, delivering technology that generates natural computer speech from small samples of recorded voice.
Google also stresses the fact that the United Kingdom is a very rich location in terms of technology and innovation, as they already have a strong engineering center in London and prospects of soon reaching Star Trek’s technological level. From their blog:
“There’s a particular focus right now in the U.K. on technology and innovation, and we’re delighted to be deepening our investment in the country with this acquisition. We already have a strong engineering center in London and look forward to welcoming Phonetic Arts to the team. We are excited about their technology, and while we don’t have plans to share yet, we’re confident that together we’ll move a little faster towards that Star Trek future.”
Speaking to a more pragmatic approach, the online language-learning site Babbel has added a voice recognition service through which users can speak to the computer and receive feedback on speaking skills.