IVR Service Provider: Google Now Recognizes Arabic Speech
March 12, 2012
Google's (News - Alert) rollout of Arabic IVR service and voice recognition continues to create new opportunities for localized apps. The app called Voice Search, which allows users to search by using their voices, runs on Android and a feature in the Google Search app for iPhone (News - Alert) and Blackberry.
According to a wamba.com article, Voice Search launched in December but has recently expanded to recognize speech in eight dialects, including Jordanian, Kuwaiti, Lebanese, Qatari, Saudi, Emirati, Egyptian, and Palestinian Arabic.
Google tackled an algorithmic issue, from an engineering and linguistic perspective as well as built a product that will create new and innovative ways of searching on the web.
When using Voice Search, you simply click the search button and your mobile device records your speech as a sound wave. Then, it is transferred to a Google server, where it is compared to billions of sound waves to determine its meaning. Google then parses the sentence by keywords and compares it to billions of keyword combinations. Finally, all in under just one second, the best keyword combination is returned to your phone.
The Voice Search team worked hard to make the app the best it could be by testing it and having local native speakers read queries in public areas so that the software could detect speech patterns despite noise.
"I've never been this excited about a product in my life. It's as accurate as if you tried voice search in English,” said MENA Product Marketing Manager Najeeb Jarrar, who was on the in-house team that worked for over two years to hone the app.
For entrepreneurs, Voice Search in Arabic will open up to localize apps, make programs simpler to use, and increase accessibility for less tech literate populations. Because Arabic voice recognition is included in the Google Voice Search API, developers can just load the API and select the dialect of their choice.
Voice Search will continue to get more accurate as it learns. If it doesn't understand the user completely, the app will offer a list of suggestions based on the closest matches that the user can choose from.
Edited by Jamie Epstein
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