Microsoft is letting developers loose with its speech recognition technology in the hopes of creating innovative apps.
Microsoft may be playing a bit of catch-up in the tablet and smartphone markets but it is right at the cutting edge when it comes to next-generation computer interfaces and in particular voice recognition.
In recent months, the company has been demonstrating its voice recognition credentials whether it's demanding a phone make a Bing internet search or filling in the fields in an Excel spreadsheet via dictation. But now it's going to let Windows app developers loose with some of this technology.
ZDNet reports that a new speech recognition tool is being included in the Bing developer toolkit so that new apps for Windows 8.1 and Windows RT from third parties will respond to the spoken word. The addition makes perfect sense because, unlike touch interfaces, which still polarize many PC users, the overwhelming majority of consumers are more than used to having words with their devices, especially when they crash or corrupt a file.
A Crucial memory survey, published in August, shows that PC users don't stop at shouting either. Over one third of US consumers with disobedient PCs (36%) admit that over the last six months they have indeed lashed out at their notebook or desktop. Some have used profanity and shouted in frustration or have even been driven to beat it, either with a fist or with the closest suitable object.
As for Microsoft opening up its goody bag of technology to the developer community, to begin with that will mean that apps will enable speech-to-text dictation and hands-free internet searches but soon, don't be surprised if the person sitting across from you at a coffee shop who appears to be Skyping someone is actually telling his or her notebook what to do.