Google buys speech recognition patents

Google has been investing in voice-enabled search

Google has acquired from the SR Tech Group a portfolio of U.S. patents and patent applications that includes several speech related patents.

The portfolio includes a patent covering a speech interface for search engines and a patent that covers a system for modifying and updating a speech recognition program, the SR Tech Group said in a news release on Monday.

The patents and patent applications complement Google existing portfolio of 50,000 patents worldwide, it said. A spokesman could not immediately comment on what Google was planning to do with the patent portfolio.

Details of the deal were not disclosed.

Google has been investing in voice enabled search technology for a while. It introduced voice-enabled search for the desktop at Google's I/O developer conference in San Francisco in May. This will allow people will be able to search using voice commands on their Chrome desktops and laptops.

Conversational Search, as Google calls it, is already used on mobile devices and taps into the company's knowledge graph, which contains hundreds of millions of objects and billions of facts that enhance Google's search.

At Google I/O, Amit Singhal, a senior vice president at Google, said that voice enabled searching is another step forward to let people use Google in as natural a way as possible. Users should be able to sit back, relax and ask a question, with Google giving the answer in speech, he said.

Loek is Amsterdam Correspondent and covers online privacy, intellectual property, open-source and online payment issues for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to loek_essers@idg.com

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