Friday, April 08, 2011

Google speech recognition software for your cellphone actually works. - By Farhad Manjoo - Slate Magazine

The data will set you free – or at least help you find the nearest McDonald’s, using voice input on your smartphone

How does Android's speech system work so well? The magic of data. Speech recognition is one of a handful of Google's artificial intelligence programs—the others are language translation and image search—that get their power by analyzing impossibly huge troves of information. For the speech system, the data are a large number of voice recordings. If you've used Android's speech recognition system, Google Voice's e-mail transcription service, Goog411 (a now-defunct information service), or some other Google speech-related service, there's a good chance that the company has your voice somewhere on its servers. And it's only because Google has your voice—and millions of others—that it can recognize mine.

Unless you've turned on Android's "personalized voice recognition" system, your recordings are stored anonymously—that is, Google can't tie your voice to your name. Still, the privacy implications in building a huge database of millions of peoples' utterances are fascinating—so fascinating that I'll devote my next column to discussing them.

Google speech recognition software for your cellphone actually works. - By Farhad Manjoo - Slate Magazine#p2#p2

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