Google Makes Voice Search More 'Personal'

Google has added personalization features to its Voice Search speech recognition technology that aim to help the system customize itself to improve accuracy for the phone's user, the company said.

"We always knew we could build a more accurate model by listening to your voice, and learning how you -- as a unique individual -- speak. So today, we're launching personalized recognition," Amir Mané, product manager and Glen Shires, member of technical staff, said in a post to the Google Mobile Blog, Tuesday.

Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) views it as critical.

"One in every four searches from an Android phone in the U.S. is by voice," Heaven Kim, a product marketing manager for Google Voice said in a post to the Google Mobile Blog in September.

For users who decide to opt into recognition personalization, Google Voice Search will associate recordings of the words that the user wants to be recognized with that person's Google account, the blog post said. Google then automatically generates a speech model that's individualized for that user -- and refines the model over time.

"This speech model enables us to deliver greater recognition accuracy. Although subtle, accuracy improvements begin fairly quickly and will build over time," Tuesday's blog post said.

According to that post, the first time a user uses Voice Search, a dialog will lead the person through the process of enabling personalized recognition. Users can turn the personalization on and off via the phone's voice recognition settings. If they wish to disassociate their voice recordings from their Google accounts, that can be accomplish through the system's dashboard.

"With this new [personalization capability], it actually learns your voice, and its nuances, so it'll fine tune to your voice over time," Tim Bajarin, principal analyst at Creative Strategies, told InternetNews.com. "[And] it goes beyond search to lookups and actions [voice commands]," he added.

Google Voice Search, with recognition personalization, requires Android 2.2 or higher, and is downloadable from Android Market.

Meanwhile, Google also released an update to Google Voice that adds support for the Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) iPad and iPod Touch.

"Starting today, you can download a new version of Google Voice that lets you use all the features of the app on these devices, such as sending and receiving free text messages - except, of course, make cellular calls," said a post on the Google Voice Blog on Tuesday by Marcus Foster, a Google Voice product manager.

The latest update for Google Voice is available for download from the Apple App Store.

Stuart J. Johnston is a contributing writer at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @stuartj1000.


Google, mobile, iPad, voice recognition, Voice Search