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Google engineer talks on future of speech recognition

Smartphones and tablets provide a playground
Wed May 25 2011, 14:32

THE INQUIRER attended SpeechTEK today where Google's engineering director, Dave Burke spoke on speech technology and its future.

The SpeechTEK Europe conference being held in London today and tomorrow focuses on speech related technology, of course, and Burke delivered the keynote.

We asked Burke what the future holds for speech recognition in an ever growing mobile device market and with many apps being developed for operating systems like Android and Apple's IOS.

He told us that we could see things like "hands-free features" and "more interaction". Hands-free could be adopted in a number of ways, including staying in control of apps in situations like driving or, as Burke suggested, a system where your phone is your main media centre in your home that you can control by voice from across a room.

This is an interesting vision and we can see it as a possibility, especially with a number of phones having powerful dual-core processors and connectivity such as mini-USB and HDMI ports.

Interaction is also an interesting concept where you could, for example, ask your device questions like "who is that email from?" after your phone has alerted you to an addition to your inbox.

He demonstrated existing speech technology such as the search and translation capabilities found on devices like the Motorola Xoom tablet and Google's Nexus S smartphone.

Burke backed up his confident outlook on the future of the technology by highlighting trends in the industry.

One of the key trends that Burke outlined is the unavoidably apparent boom in mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. These kinds of devices are becoming all the more popular and are being used and relied upon for multiple functions.

That we've seen the smartphone market grow considerably larger just recently is an understatement, and the tablet market is set to play a big part in consumer device sales this year.

These devices are getting more popular and powerful as time goes by, with consumers either ditching alternatives like the PC or laptop completely or using them less and alongside mobile devices as a result.

Burke said, "If you ask chip manufacturers they will tell you that there will be quad-core chips by the end of next year." He concluded, "Smartphones and tablets will be the playground for speech recognition."

Google started working on speech recognition back in 2007 with its first speech recognition service, and it first appeared on a mobile device in the form of voice search on Android 1.5 Cupcake. µ

 

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