Google’s love for India continues as Google Voice gets better support for Indian Accents. It is no secret that Indian Accents are a lot different than any other accents like British or American. It might be argued that even Australian accents might be easier to learn as compared to Indian accents. It is indeed difficult to understand Indian accents by machines.
Due to this, while English speaking population in most of the world was speaking away into their Android phones, in India which has an almost 85% Android market share, we still found it hard to get Google understand our queries.
Google worked on the problem as they know. Getting a lot of data and tweaking till they get things right. According to the company, they worked with over 700 people to improve the voice search to satisfaction.
As per them- “We collected spoken utterances to create the specific language models which power English voice search in the Indian accent. Our volunteers are asked to read popular search queries in a variety of acoustic conditions such as in restaurants, out on busy streets, and inside cars, to best reflect real life and the role Search has in helping connect users with relevant information they need to go about their day.”
This feature is present in all mobile sets which have Android 2.3 or higher installed. This should mean almost all phones in the market. Only very few phones might have Android 2.2 and I don’t think any phone bought in the past couple of years will have an OS version older than that. The catch of course is that this will work only with the English language (as of now). However, once that is selected (English-India), we can expect the phone to understand almost everything we say.
Adding to this, the search options have also improved and are not simply based on keywords anymore. Voice commands will work better and search experience will be much better now.
“From asking Google where you can watch the latest movie to finding out cricket scores at the touch of a button, Google is there to help you get the answers you need,” said Sandeep Menon, Head of Marketing, Google India.
This opens vast possibilities for users. A use case that I find almost necessary is when I am driving. Using Google Maps to search for a location should get much easier and any change in location can be instantly put in the phone instead of stopping the car and putting it in in traffic rush.
Even worse, looking down and typing a location while driving and courting an accident. This scenario will be completely averted with Google understanding what we mean.
According to Google, this is analysis is cloud based, it will improve as more people get involved in the experiment.
Google has been constantly updating their voice recognition capabilities. Very recently they updated their translate Android app which now accepts phonetic keyboard input in 8 different languages and offers translation on the fly!