Android Siri alternative Iris partners with ChaCha for info database

Ever since the iPhone 4S was announced and Siri shown off we've been seeing all sorts of movement in the world of Android regarding voice recognition and other similar software or applications. While Android has had its own Google Voice Actions for a long time Iris has emerged as a great Siri alternative. Recent reports are now suggesting Iris is about to get a whole lot better soon.

Swype Beta updated with Dragon Dictation for voice and support for 50+ languages

Swype has just announced another update for their popular keyboard and users taking part in the BETA can enjoy it right now. The last update was back in November and brought a few awesome new features but this newest update is even better. Swype has now add Dragon Dictation for ultimate voice control and TTS (Text to Speech) since being bought by Nuance. They've also added support for over 50 languages and more.

Siri’s Android competition is called Cluzee

If you are an Android user wanting to get some Siri-style action onto your Android device a new app has launched that will do just that called Cluzee. It's sort of like the alpha app called Iris we talked about a few days ago. The app allows you to speak normal phrases and it will then goes out and do what you tell it to. The app is described as an intelligent personal assistant. The app will respond to all sorts of spoken queries such as "what is my schedule like today."

Google executive: Siri is Star Wars, Android Voice Actions is Star Trek

Sometimes it's nice to know that the executives at Google are just as nerdy as we are. At the Hong Kong event where Google and Samsung introduced the Galaxy Nexus and Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, Matias Duarte, product management director for Android, answered some direct questions from the crowd. When asked to compare Siri with Android's built-in Voice Control features, he responded with an analogy that any self-respecting geek can identify with. Duarte compared Siri with the bumbling protocol droids like C3PO from Star Wars, while Voice Actions are more like the U.S.S. Enterprise's computer, where voice controls every function.

Google Voice Actions for Android hits Europe [Video]

Google has extended Voice Actions for Android to users in the UK, France, Italy, Germany and Spain, with the voice-command service now supporting local languages in each country. Launched in the US last year, the newly extended system allows to you start a new SMS message, call contacts, navigate to websites and do other things, all by simply speaking to your Android device. Voice Actions now recognizes British English, French, Italian, German and Spanish, and is compatible with Android 2.2 devices and above. After triggering the voice search by holding down the dedicated search button, tapping the homescreen microphone button or loading the app itself, you can choose from seven different commands:
  • send text to [contact] [message]
  • call [business]
  • call [contact]
  • go to [website]
  • navigate to [location/business name]
  • directions to [location/business name]
  • map of [location]
Meanwhile, voice-led searching is still supported. You can download the new version from the Android Market. [youtube HsI76lrvJt4]

Nuance Dragon speech SDK for Android apps available

The voice recognition technology from Nuance shows up in a lot of places that you might not realize it is used in. We all know the company from its apps for translation and voice search on Android devices and other smartphones. The company is also known for its line of PC voice control software.

Google voice recognition slices out swearing

We're guessing a large number of people were screaming profanities at their Nexus One handsets this weekend, not out of frustration with the phone itself but to test out Google's apparent voice recognition censorship.  Testing of the Nexus One's speech-transcription systems revealed that swear words are not directly translated, but instead replaced by strings of hashes.
"We filter potentially offensive or inappropriate results because we want to avoid situations whereby we might misrecognize a spoken query and return profanity when, in fact, the user said something completely innocent.  Ultimately our goal is to return results that show exactly what you said, and we’re constantly working to improve the technology to better fit our users’ needs" Google statement
Android's speech recognition relies on Google's servers remotely processing voice commands and then feeding back the results to the user's handset.  Google reckon the censorship isn't a matter of wanting to avoid legitimately fruity language, but in fact the opposite: accidentally mis-transcribing something and inadvertently sending back obscenities to a user. [Thanks to everyone who sent this in!]

G1 gets Voice-Controlled Search with RC-33 update

Google have added voice-controlled searching to the T-Mobile G1, part of the new feature set introduced in the latest firmware update.  The widget has been integrated into both the Android browser and the home screen search bar, in the form of a new microphone icon. Tapping the icon brings up a "Speak now" prompt, at which point you can search for multi-word terms.  If the app doesn't correctly recognize your voice, you can also choose the arrow to the right of the search box and see a drop-down list of other suggested interpretations.  The Google Android team claim to be working on refining the recognition algorithms for future updates. The functionality also works within the Android browser, and can be accessed by choosing Menu > Search and tapping the microphone icon.  Unfortunately the new functionality is currently only available in the US, with the RC-33 firmware rolling out over this coming week.  Have you tried voice-controlled searching on the G1?  Impressed or disappointed?  [gallery]
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