Android phones can learn the sound of your voice

Google's new personalized voice recognition technology helps Android phones perform more accurate voice searches.

Time to add a new service to the "cool but creepy" category. Google announced that Android phones can now learn the sound of your voice for more accurate voice searches.

Personalized recognition is an opt-in service for Android versions 2.2 and higher. Once you give the go-ahead, Google begins recording voice searches and using the data to build a speech model just for you. "Although subtle, accuracy improvements begin fairly quickly and will build over time," says the Google Mobile blog.

Google is quite mindful of the potential to creep people out by remembering their voices. The company stresses that it "takes your privacy seriously" and explains that if you want Google to forget what it learned, you can switch off personalized voice recognition through the "Speech" section of Google Dashboard. A new privacy initiative was one reason that federal regulators let Google off the hook for accidentally collecting private data through its Street View cars.

Perhaps personalized recognition is the kind of trade-off to which Google alluded when it abandoned 1-800-GOOG-411, a free directory service, in October. "Our success (with voice recognition) encouraged us to aim for more innovation," the company wrote at the time. "Thus, we're putting all of our resources into speech-enabling the next generation of Google products and services across a multitude of languages."

Elsewhere, GOOG-411's users blasted me for suggesting that the trade-off was worthwhile. Personally, I'd rather see Google focus its resources on better voice recognition in smartphones than continue to support a service that will ultimately become outdated, especially when similar services such as 1-800-FREE-411 still exist.

Then again, I'm not easily spooked by a Web service that remembers what you sound like.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags telecommunicationsmartmediaGooglesoftwaremobilevoice recognition

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jared Newman

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?