Google Voice Search Can Now Use Your Voice for Better Recognition

By on December 15th, 2010 09:14 GMT

Google has been catering search results for you for quite some time now, with the advent of personalized search. Now it's taking it one step further by personalizing the search process itself, if you're using Voice Search on Android that is. The latest update to the Voice Search app adds a very interesting new feature which enables it to learn your particular accent and the way you talk to offer improved recognition.

"Personalized recognition" is an opt-in feature that you have to specifically activate before you can take advantage of it. It's also only available in English and in the US for now.

But the promise is a good one, by sampling your own voice and accent, rather than generic ones, the recognition algorithm can do a much, much better job.

"If you opt into personalized recognition, we begin to associate the recordings of the words that you ask us to recognize with your Google account," Amir Mané, Product Manager and Glen Shires, Member of Technical Staff at Google, announced.

"We then automatically use these words to build a speech model specifically for you. This speech model enables us to deliver greater recognition accuracy. Although subtle, accuracy improvements begin fairly quickly and will build over time," they explained.

The feature requires that samples of your voice, from the searches you conduct, are stored in the Google cloud. Admittedly, this does sound a bit creepy and privacy organizations may have a field day.

This is why Google has taken several steps to ensure that you are in control of the feature and the data.

"Google takes your privacy seriously, so you can enable or disable personalized recognition at any time through the Google voice recognition settings on your phone," Google said.

The feature is opt-in and can be disabled at any time. However, this does not remove the voice recordings that Google may have already stored. If you want to purge this data you need to access the Google Dashboard.

But, with access to your voice, the recognition algorithm will gradually improve as it builds a large enough sample base. In time, it should significantly improve the accuracy of voice recognition on your phone.

For mobile devices, voice input is very important as it adds a fast and simple way of interacting with your phone without the need to type anything, which can be cumbersome.

But voice input goes beyond the phone, cars are an obvious choice and home devices are also a target. Part of the appeal of the Xbox 360 Kinect is the voice recognition feature which enables you, for example, to watch a movie from Netflix without ever touching your remote.

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Personalized recognition is an option in the latest version of the Android Voice Search app
   Personalized recognition is an option in the latest version of the Android Voice Search app