Google Says Voice Search Faster, More Accurate

26 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Google says its voice search is faster, hears you better in noisy environments.

Google is using a technology called a Recurrent Neural Network (RNN) to more accurately identify what you’re saying and ignore other sounds that aren’t part of the search query. In a blog post, the Google Speech Team explains that it’s added what are known as Connectionist Temporal Classification and sequence discriminative training techniques to its algorithms. The speedier search performance is already live in Google’s search apps, so perhaps it’d be worth trying out more voice queries to see if you notice a difference. If that doesn’t make much sense to you, here’s a straightforward explanation of how it works: In a traditional speech recognizer, the waveform spoken by a user is split into small consecutive slices or “frames” of 10 milliseconds of audio. For example, the word “museum” is broken up into / m j u z i @ m/ in phonetic notation and normally the sounds made by “j” and “u” would be difficult to separate.

RNNs have feedback loops in their topology, allowing them to model temporal dependencies: when the user speaks /u/ in the previous example, their articulatory apparatus is coming from a /j/ sound and from an /m/ sound before. By introducing that ability to include information about sounds on either side of each snippet, the algorithms stands a far better chance of understanding what you say.

In fact, Google claims that it makes voice search far more accurate, particularly in noisy environments, as well as helping to make it “blazingly fast.” You don’t even need to do anything to take advantage of the improvement: The new neural network approach is already being used by the Google search app for iOS and Android. You’ll get to keep your current user name (as long as it doesn’t contain invalid characters, in which case you’ll have to go through a few extra steps to make the transfer), and all your old comments will eventually (not immediately) migrate with you.

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