Unless you’ve been living under a rock, I think you’d agree with me that even in today’s technology-driven world that a lot of the voice technology and recognition just flat out sucks. Many voice activated systems are getting better, but are still quite frustrating. For example, until Google last updated their voice quality in Ice Cream Sandwich, trying to search something with your voice instead of typing was very tedious. Now, you may be asking, “what brought this whole subject up?” Well, I’ve simply been playing with a lot of voice technology as of late and have had some interesting experiences with them in the past few days. In anticipation of the Knowledge base getting integrated with the Voice Search functions, I decided to play around with the current voice search functions that were implemented already. After that, I took it upon myself to head on over to Google Play and check out some other voice driven applications like Vlingo and another called iris. That said, with these experiences I have come to the conclusion that people are working very hard to get voice technology at a great level.
All that said, I’ve noticed that a lot of things have improved vastly since I was last using it. My first phone had terrible voice recognition and I had that around a year ago. It’s cool to see how much it’s actually improved and at the same time, it’s quite interesting. As of late, Google seems to have been really interested in the voice technology with their most recent addition to Jelly Bean, Google Now. In case you didn’t know, Google Now is essentially a completely revamped and better Siri.
Anyway, my old phone couldn’t translate voice into textat all. It was a smartphone made by LG (if that says anything) and actually was a pretty good one. That is, aside from the voice quality. On numerous occasions I tried to use speech-to-text to ultimately make my texting a bit faster. The result of that? It turned my English words and translated it into complete nonsense and blubber. It wasn’t in another language either, it was just a rather interesting experience. That said, I really discounted what voice technology had to offer and never played around with it again until I picked up my Motorola Atrix 2. I didn’t even use that extensively until recently.
Since I got my tablet (Transformer Pad TF300T) I have been playing with the Voice Search function on it a lot. Upon using it, I did three tests. One consisted of talking to it up close, the other a bit further and the other way across the room. On each test it performed fantastically well compared to my past experiences. Wow! Voice Technology came a long way since I had last used it. That said, I was encouraged to try some other voice applications on my tablet like Vlingo and iris off of Google Play. I waited a bit to do that though as I wanted to try it out on my phone because as I said, I hadn’t truly used my phone for speech-to-text purposes or voice recognition at all.
To make it short and sweet, I experienced close to the same results as my new tablet. It’s no surprise that my tablet would perform better than my phone since its a newer device with 10x better hardware. Still, I was expecting a huge difference, but there wasn’t a whole lot. The only thing that I noticed a difference with is that my phone couldn’t hear me correctly across the room while my tablet could.
Vlingo works similarly to the Google Search function in which I found that also works very well. The only thing is, it isn’t available for my tablet and only my phone. Using it, I enjoyed some of the features it had that the Google Search function didn’t (at least, until I get Jelly Bean). Vlingo makes sending and replying to text messages very easy. It also understands you very clearly and also inputs grammar into your message very accurately. Essentially Vlingo is another Siri for Android devices. Considering it wasn’t made by a huge corporation with lots of money, I was surprised at how well the quality was.
Ivee Alarm Clock:
Okay, Apps and Voice Recognition inside tablets and smartphones aside, I had decided to broaden my look into voice technologies and actually came across a really cool Alarm Clock. Yeah, it’s no Android or iOS powered alarm clock, but it is simply an alarm clock that functions with voice. It only has a few commands but responds to you extraordinarily well (it’s quite expensive too!). The Ivee Alarm Clock hears you most of the time, when you’re close to it that is. The point of it isn’t the voice range though, its more of the fact that it hears your voice clearly and follows the instructions that you gave it upon answering a few of Ivee’s questions.
With a simple “Hello Ivee,” the alarm clock responds to you with a couple of unique random lines. With the voice technology simple commands like “Set time to 0;00” will allow you to edit the clock without having to touch a single button. Amazing isn’t it? I’m sure a lot of you have seen some similar things like this, but I figured I would personally share my experiences with voice technology.
I’ve never had any good experiences with voice technology until now (aside from VoIP). The Ivee clock is probably one of the more really cool things that I have seen. I sort of thought that the whole voice activated technology wasn’t hugely important in today’s world due to how lacking my experiences with numerous devices and apps have been. As I said, recently I have been finding more and more that it has improved since I last used it, which was really about a year ago when I had my older phone. Either I was under a rock at the time (which, I probably was) or voice technology was just downright crappy.
This was really meant to be a sort of discussion topic if anyone finds interest in it. With examples of the Ivee Alarm Clock I’ve come to realize that the Voice Technology is definitely getting better. Now, the real question is, when will it be good enough to rely on for our text messages, making correct phone calls, setting reminders and etc? From my experience(s), I can tell we’re headed there but I definitely do not think were quite there just yet. Relying on voice technology can be difficult due to its lack of accuracy in some areas.
Now, how do I know it’s getting there? Have you seen our review on the Obi202 that will allow you to make free phone calls and completely cut out your phone bill? It’s essentially a VoIP adapter/router that makes crisp and clear calls unlike some other devices that are out there. Standard Skype calls and sometimes even Google Voice is tedious, but the Obi202 is a technology that at its core was built to have crisp and clear calls. That’s an example of voice technology improving very heavily.
Another example would be the Google Now and the rise of numerous different applications on both Google Play and iOS that are voice driven. Some apps are a downright piece of crap while others, like Vlingo, are stunningly accurate and do as you want them too. Honestly, if we can get some people that would dedicate a company to developing voice technology, could you just imagine the results for a minute? How well would our phones perform with that sort of technology? Heck, we could even have voice driven house locks eventually (as in, it only unlocks your door if it hears the sound of your voice). Sure, that’s a crazy idea, but it’s very well possible.
So, here’s the question. What do you think about Voice Technology? Do you currently see it as reliable, or would you agree with me when I say it isn’t accurate? If someone were to dedicate a company to developing voice technology, if you could, would you back them on the idea and be interested in using that type of technology in your daily life? I think it sounds cool, and it would be pretty amazing if we got to that point. But for right now, it’s just a handy tool to use here and there.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!