Speech Recognition and Google Chrome OS

My roommate and I went out to dinner.  We discussed some interesting topics, from viruses to OS’s.  On the subject of OS’s, I speculated how Google Chrome OS could in fact be almost entirely voice controlled.  Google has been working on perfecting it’s Voice Recognition for a while now, such as for the iPhone and other mobile platforms.  It allows for searching to be done quickly, and the better they get, the happier the users.

Well, why not put that into the OS?  Have an option to use a traditional keyboard and mouse, some users would need those, but why not have an option to have the entire OS voice controlled?  Perhaps not completely, voiced controlled, because that is very difficult in places (what check box did you want pressed?  Which button on the page to hit?), but have the Voice Commands always on, always waiting.  Writing becomes dictating, Searching is as simple as saying “Search for:  Google Chrome OS.”  It could intergrate (like Google Desktop) web search and desktop search.  Google has the entire platform layed out, so why don’t they do it?

It’s hard.  That’s why.  Voice recognition, while getting better, is simply not good enough.  After dinner, I returned to my Mac and immediately enabled Voice Commands.  It was interesting, configuring the Microphone volume, learning how to say things clearly so it understood, and watching as shit went down.  But in the end, I disabled it.  Why?  Because it just wasn’t good enough.  The computer doesn’t learn, it doesn’t offer enough leniency.  If you ask something wrong, it simply waits for you to ask it correctly.  It doesn’t pop up and say “Did you mean?”  And learn it for the next time.  It needs to learn, it needs to have some sort of AI.  Otherwise, asking it to do the same thing over and over again becomes tedious quickly.  Also, it wasn’t diverse enough.  Sure, it could switch applications, but it couldn’t Google search, it couldn’t browse deep into folders, and it couldn’t Dictate (that requires another program).   Also, it wasn’t fast enough.  For all the reasons above, simply using a mouse is faster, and more efficient.  If the program messes up as much as I mess up typing, then that’s fair; but if I have to repeat myself many times, that’s too much.  I’d rather time and see progress than need to repeat myself every 3 seconds to get the program to get it correctly.

But this too, Google has been practicing.  Indeed, they have everything covered, they now need to integrate it into 1 glorious system… one glorious OS.  They have been working on Dictating using Google Voice; you can have voice-mails translated into text for you and sent as email.   I dare say they are probably getting pretty good at it too.  So now they have the Searching down, the dictating down, voice commands down…. they just need to put it together, and Bang!  A voice controlled OS.

Is it coming?  I don’t know.  It is definitely something we should be seeing in the future, and perhaps sooner.  Once voice recognition gets good enough to compete with the Mouse and Keyboard, why not?  It would simply be another option for people, and options are good.

~ by wayfarer247 on October 9, 2009.

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