Voice Dictation in Ice Cream Sandwich – not yet indistinguishable from magic


[1]One of the [holy grail] Holy Grails of mobile computing has been accuratevoice dictation. With the introduction of improved voice dictation capabilitiesinside [android] Android’s new [ice cream sandwich] Ice CreamSandwich update [but I am 1] that’s now one step closer to reality. In theinterest of scientific advancement, I thought I would actually tried to dictatethis article using voice dictation on an [android] Android tablet. Text that the dictation feature got wrong is marked [in square brackets]  and my manual corrections are in blue. As you can alreadytell, there are still a few kinks to be worked out.


[1]One of the first things it's important to [know] note is that in order toget voice dictation, you need to have an active connection to the [internet]Internet. When you press the microphone icon in the lower right of the keyboardit starts taking dictation, by listening to what you're saying into themicrophone of your tablet or smartphone, and then sending it over your internetconnection to a server where [is] it’s then decoded and sent back to yourandroid device as text.


Inan ideal world this is fine. But I think we've all had [situation] situationswhere we didn't actually have a net connection that was consistent. [Numberof the time] A number of times that I've been using the dictation feature onthis [android] Android tablet, my net connection has disappeared or beencongested enough [but my] that the connection to the server that decodedthe voice dictation has been interrupted.


Whenthat happens [if a] there’s little you can do except pause and wait foryour connection to be re-established. If you're outside and in a public areawhere you're relying on your cellular connection in order to be able to dothat, you may find voice dictation experience extremely frustrating.


[Allthe features still has the ability to see in a little bit magical time


Well]While this feature still has the ability to seem a little bit magical at times,there are still a few limitations to it. You have to speak very clearly anddeliberately in order for it to make out the words, as well [of] as havingto say out loud things like[. And,]  “period” and “comma” in order [10 2] to actually format the text as [your ]you’re speaking it. If youstart to speed along at a natural speaking pace, then it will give you a bunchof gibberish. Just as an example here's a little snippet of text that I [retrieve]received from this while I was doing a test of voice dictation. I haveabsolutely no clue what I was actually saying during this test but I'm sure itwas not this:


“Swhat is nice for a very much for over an hour hot toddy when you get here.Trying to get some of what I'm saying here national on and off do the same foryou and be safe. For question stream nada not yet had a couple places way tostockton 1607”


Whenyou [throw] slow down to the point [were] where the [android] Androiddevice can actually make out what you're saying and [translated] translateit accurately, you actually [started] start to dictate so slowly [if]that you can lose your train of thought as [your] you’re dictating. Theentire process takes on a bit of a robotic feel which is extremely unnatural.So, [well] while it may actually be more convenient [and put up fall] to input ablock of text this way, you'll probably feel a bit foolish doing so especiallyif [you] you’re doing it in public, and almost certainly you'll spend alot of your time doing corrections on text that wasn't transcribed accurately.


Ihave also noticed [if you] occasional instances where [in] you’ll geta response back from the server after a particularly long run [a] of voicedictation. It will send back a message that says “maximum length exceeded”. So [well]while it is possible to do longer blocks of text using voice dictation on the [android]Android, it's still not unlimited, even though it's longer than it used to be.


[Arthurc clarke wife] Arthur C. Clarke once said that anytechnology sufficiently advanced is indistinguishable from magic. Thisdefinitely comes close [dot dot dot] but it's still not there yet.


Would you recommend this article?


Thanks for taking the time to let us know what you think of this article!
We'd love to hear your opinion about this or any other story you read in our publication.

Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Sean Carruthers
Sean Carruthershttp://www.globalhermit.com
Sean Carruthers is a freelance writer, video producer and host based in Toronto, Canada. Most recently, he was a Senior Producer at butterscotch.com, where he was responsible for the conception, writing, production and editing of a number of web video shows, including Lab Rats, How Do I?, Status Update, The Noob, and more.

Featured Download

IT World Canada in your inbox

Our experienced team of journalists and bloggers bring you engaging in-depth interviews, videos and content targeted to IT professionals and line-of-business executives.

Latest Blogs

Senior Contributor Spotlight