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Google adds personalization features to Android Voice Search

Dec 15, 2010 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

Google has begun letting users link Voice Search queries made from their Android 2.2 smartphones to their Google accounts in order to boost recognition accuracy. The new voice search personalization feature is currently available for English only, but will support other languages in the future, says the company.

Google said yesterday it is offering to link the queries users speak into their Android 2.2 smartphones to their Google accounts to improve speech recognition for that user over time. Called personalized recognition, this represents an enhancement of Voice Search, which has become a popular search app on smartphones based on Android, as well as Apple's iPhone.

Google launched Voice Search over two years ago with broad speech models that didn't account for a user's age, stage, accents and other characteristics.

In a blog posting on the personal voice search feature yesterday, Google Product Manager Amir Mané and Glen Shires, members of the technical staff at Google, wrote, "We always knew we could build a more accurate model by listening to your voice, and learning how you — as a unique individual — speak. So today we're launching personalized recognition."

New personalized recognition menu item on Google Voice Search

English speakers using Android 2.2 smartphones or later who opt into personalized recognition will have recordings of words they speak into their phones for Voice Search associated with their Google Account. Google will use these words to build a speech model for the user to boost recognition accuracy.

Ideally, Google Voice Search associated with users' Google accounts will improve the speech recognition capabilities when they conduct voice searches on their handsets.

Users may also choose to disassociate their voice recordings from their Google Account through the speech section in the Google Dashboard. Support for other countries and languages is said to be due in the near future.

Personalized recognition is not an over-the-air upgrade for Android 2.2 handsets, adds Google. Users must download the latest version of the Voice Search app from Android Market to begin personalizing speech recognition. We did so for a test version of the Samsung Nexus S, and found the process to be quick and painless.

Google has shown an interest in boosting its speech and voice recognition capabilities of late. The company more than a week ago acquired speech synthesis specialist Phonetic Arts, whose software samples human speech and tailors it for computers.

A person familiar with Google's plans said the Phonetic Arts capabilities did not come into play for personalized recognition. "The Phonetic Arts team will join Google's existing efforts in speech technology to help drive innovation in the area of text-to-speech synthesis," a spokesperson told eWEEK Dec. 5.


More information on the new voice search personalization features for Android 2.2 may be found in this Google Mobile Blog entry.

Clint Boulton is a writer for our sister publication eWEEK.

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