The number of communications options available at our fingertips means we never have to be out of touch with people unless we truly seek separation. Still, we cling to the power of voice, recognizing the value it has in relationships and communications. To that end, voice recognition has gained in popularity over the last few years, especially with the availability of Siri and Google Voice.
The challenge in the industry, however, is that many of the available technologies are only seamlessly performing in common languages. When companies need to employ call recording software to analyze and gather data based on interactions with colleagues, customers or others whose first language is not English, there can be a real challenge if the voice recognition technology can’t pick up on the dialect.
Unfortunately, it’s difficult to fine-tune voice recognition in diverse languages, making some smartphone technologies useless on the other side of the world. For those in Korea, for instance, Google’s hands-free voice search service won’t work. As a result, the latest Android phones introduced there offer no hands-free search benefits.
Known as OK Google, the search giant’s speech recognition service is nearly useless in non-English speaking countries. This latest version was added to the Google operating system, Android 4.4 KitKat, released at the end of October 2013. The service enables the user to voice search on the device by simply speaking the words, “OK Google” to the device without needing to touch the screen on the smartphone. The service is meant to improve the user experience, but only if it works properly.
OK Google was introduced as the provider’s answer to Apple’s Siri, but a lack of support outside of English-speaking countries is a real problem. And, this problem is sparking complaints from users around the world – and why wouldn’t it? Most investments in a new phone are done so for the added features. If a feature is limited, the value quickly diminishes.
The lack of language availability is not necessarily Google’s fault alone. The reality is voice recognition technology is difficult to fine-tune in diverse languages. The demand for voice recognition and call recording software in key revenue areas will decide how quickly this technology will be developed. With a growing need in the business sector, we may see expansions in the service sooner rather than later.
This demand in the business sector is likely to have the largest impact on the development in speech recognition as the call recording software industry has a vested interest in the expansion. Simply developing the technology for a smartphone customers are going to buy anyway is not enough of a pull to justify the investment. Google has the resources, but it’s not a key focus or revenue generating area. The company will likely rely on others to advance the technology so they can benefit.