Addition of voice search trigger command to Chromium causes outcry
Google has come under fire from privacy campaigners, for automatically installing an audio monitoring tool as part of Chromium, the core of Chrome. Developers discovered the browser was automatically downloading and installing code that listens to the user's voice for the voice search trigger "OK Google," something that is allowed within the main Chrome browser, but not within the open source Chromium browser.
Natural language processing of Hound allows for complex queries to be asked
SoundHound, a developer better known for its music recognition app, is taking on a market dominated by Google Voice Search, Siri, and Cortana. Hound is a voice-based search system that aims to differentiate itself from other similar services by focusing on improved speech recognition and language processing, taking into account the context and details of what is being asked instead of relying on spoken keywords.
Google to introduce interface for Android voice search that is 'eyes-free'
Android's voice search functionality is anticipated to broaden its capabilities to offer an "eyes-free" interface, aimed at users who are driving. According to Tech Radar, the initiative is codenamed KITT and allows for accessing the "OK Google" voice search feature from anywhere within the phone. If Google cannot provide the information in a way that does not require viewing the screen, the information is saved until it can be safely viewed. More information regarding this upcoming feature will likely surface at Google's I/O conference.
Google rolls out hands-free Voice Search to all desktop Chrome versions
Google has started to roll out its hands-free Voice Search to all desktop Chrome users. Initially released in the beta version of Chrome in February, the option allows Chrome users to start a voice search from a new tab or from Google.com by stating "OK Google" followed by the search query. Engadget reports the feature is currently available in the United States with browsers set to US English, but it could add support for other languages in the near future.
Pebble lowers price of Steel smart watch with leather strap
Pebble has cut the price for one version of its metal smartwatch. The leather-strap version of the Pebble Steel is now reduced to $229 for both the brushed stainless and black matte models, representing a $20 saving on the metal-band variants, reports SmartwatchFans. Potential buyers will have to wait, as the leather-strapped models are now back-ordered, while the metal strap versions are listed as "unavailable." The original version of the Pebble is still listed as in-stock.
Hands-free voice search could hit public Chrome release in near future
Google has updated the beta version of the Chrome browser to add hands-free voice search, among other updates. Version 34 of the beta adds the same voice search functionality the company added to the Chromium browser last month, and allows users to search for items using the "OK Google" command, without needing to install an extension beforehand.
All Nexus, Google Play Edition devices can download new launcher
Google has added the Google Now Launcher to the Play Store, allowing the software that first appeared on the Nexus 5 to be used on other devices. The free launcher, formerly known as the Google Experience Launcher, adds a number of features not offered in the original Android 4.4 launcher, including a dedicated Home Screen page for Google now, as well as performing hands-free voice searches by uttering "OK Google" before the search query.
O2 adds price rise clause to contracts to avoid Ofcom rule changes
British carrier O2 has updated its contracts, requiring new customers and subscribers who upgrade to agree to a price plan increase every year. The change, noted by Engadget, comes after UK regulator Ofcom clarified rules that allowed customers to exit a contract early without penalty their contracts are changed mid-commitment, except in specific circumstances. As O2 has managed to find a loophole, it is likely that other carriers in the United Kingdom may employ similar tactics in the future, in order to earn more from their customers without the early termination risk.
Moto X wood options will be available in coming weeks
The Moto X will have options for a wood backing in the future, but not in time for Thanksgiving, according to a Reuters reporter on Twitter. Despite this, Motorola is allegedly aiming to offer the backing option to customers through Moto Maker in the coming weeks, "in time for some holiday shopping." Original sightings of the backing showed options for Ebony, Rosewood, Teak, and Bamboo, though it is not clear which of these will be offered to customers.
Voice search main addition to Google-powered smart TV addition
Sony has announced it is adding voice search to the next generation of its Google TV set-top box. The NSZ-GS8, the updated version of the NSZ-GS7, has a relatively unchanged trackpad and keyboard-based remote design from its predecessor, but the addition of a microphone allows it to be used for the vocal control system that Google demonstrated late last year.
Swedish, Icelandic, and Bulgarian added to Voice Search
Google has added 13 more languages to Voice Search for Android users. The additional languages will join the existing 29 supported by the service, bringing the total number supported up to 42 languages and accents in 46 countries. It is claimed that the extra language options open up Voice Search to potentially 100 million new speakers, with the majority of the latest beneficiaries residing in Europe.