Google Android Voice Search gets support for 13 new languages


Google has beefed up its Android Voice Search feature by adding support for a further 13 languages bringing the total supported to 42 and extending its reach to some 100 million additional users.

Speed is key when it comes to trying to search for places using voice recognition on a mobile device, according to Google which claims it is catering for that demand with the enhanced arrival.

The updated software is already making its way to users and will improve in accuracy the more people use it, thanks to Google's cloud-based approach, according to product manager Bertrand Damiba.

"'Norwegian restaurants in New York City.' I can type that phrase fast, but I can say it even faster - and when I'm on the go, speed is what I'm looking for," he said in a blog post.

"With Voice Search, you can speak into your phone to get search results quickly and easily... Each new language usually requires that we initially collect hundreds of thousands of utterances from volunteers and, although we've been working on speech recognition for several years, adding these new languages led our engineers and scientists to tackle some unique challenges.

"While languages like Romanian follow predictable pronunciation rules, others, like Swedish, required that we recruit native speakers to provide us with the pronunciations for thousands of words. Our scientists then built a machine learning system based on that data to predict how all other Swedish words would be pronounced."

Multilingual users need not get too excited just yet, however, as Google has stressed that the app can only handle one language at a time so users will need to tweak their language settings each time they use a different lingo.

Maggie Holland

Maggie has been a journalist since 1999, starting her career as an editorial assistant on then-weekly magazine Computing, before working her way up to senior reporter level. In 2006, just weeks before ITPro was launched, Maggie joined Dennis Publishing as a reporter. Having worked her way up to editor of ITPro, she was appointed group editor of CloudPro and ITPro in April 2012. She became the editorial director and took responsibility for ChannelPro, in 2016.

Her areas of particular interest, aside from cloud, include management and C-level issues, the business value of technology, green and environmental issues and careers to name but a few.