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Google Voice Now Available In 13 New Languages

Users worldwide will be excited to hear that Google has posted an update to it’s blog. The company has just announced that Voice Search is now available in thirteen more new languages. The list of newly included languages ranges from Basque to Swedish, bringing the total number of supported languages up to 42, and there is surely more to come.

In the official blog post, Product Manager Bertrand Damiba explains just what it takes to add a new language to Voice Search, and boy, does it sound quite involved. The first and foremost step is that Google needs to collect “hundreds of thousands of utterances” from volunteers to bring the speech recognition up to par. No wonder why it always takes them so long to add new languages!

It does sound quite easy though. Recording utterances from volunteers does not sound that involved. But, Damiba explains that Google engineers face many challenges in adding support for different languages. He continued to explain that languages that don’t follow a predictable pronunciation rule (i.e. the Swedish language) requires that Google recruits native speakers to pronounce thousands of individual words. The result of all of this work though, is that they have a very robust Voice Search system.

The process has led Google to building a “machine learning system” that will be able to accurately predict how other words will be pronounced when it is time for Voice Search to recognize the users input. Behind-the-Scenes processes and technical details aside, here’s the full list of newly added languages you can expect to see:

  • Basque
  • Bulgarian
  • Catalan
  • European Portuguese
  • Finnish
  • Galician
  • Hungarian
  • Icelandic
  • Norwegian
  • Romanian
  • Serbian
  • Slovak
  • Swedish

Dambia’s post on their blog goes on to say that the update has already begun rolling out to users, and should finish up within a approximate time of a week. I don’t think that’s too bad of a wait. Users that are running Android 2.2 or later will be able to simply tap the microphone icon on their Google Search widget to begin searching things. Other users are going to need to download the Voice Search app (hit the download link) from Google’s Play Store. Damiba finished up the post by saying this:

As with other languages we’ve added, one of the major benefits to Google’s cloud-based model is that the more people use Voice Search, the more accurate it becomes.

I’m kind of surprised that Swedish and Finnish weren’t there already just because of the supposed popularity of Android that is in both countries. I don’t have the article I read, so you’re just going to have to choose to take my word for it, but Android is actually really popular in both Sweden and Finland mostly due to the amount of developers in both countries. Now, I don’t know if that’s an accurate statement or not but it does make some sense.

Has anyone that uses one of the languages listed above got the Voice Search update yet? How’s the recognition like? Let us know in the comments!

source: Google Blog
Download: Google Play

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