Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Google Claims Great Leaps Forward in Voice Search

Last year Google added a machine-learning technique called deep neural networks to its voice search. The speech recognition error rate decreased by 20 percent.

JohannaWrightSince then, Google’s voice team has kept tweaking the service, resulting in another 25 percent increase in speech recognition accuracy. That’s according to Google VP of Search and Assist Johanna Wright, who spoke at the announcement of Google’s new flagship phone and operating system in San Francisco today.

The difference, Wright elaborated offstage, is that over the past two years, Google has applied the same sort of rigor to voice search as it has long dedicated to search quality.

It’s not one big change, but a series of refinements, similar to the way Google modifies its search engine algorithms on a regular basis, Wright said.

Google Voice Search is integrated across the Android operating system — even more so on the new Nexus 5 — and available as an app for iOS and Windows 8. It’s also provided on the Web.

Sure, these are just a couple of braggy growth stats with no absolute numbers. But since voice search is becoming such a key way to navigate mobile phones, the improvements do add up.


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik