Tag - Voice Search
Google is altering the way it performs voice search queries to take on Siri and other competitors, becoming more conversational and assistant-like, with the upgraded Google Voice Search renamed Google Assistant. At the same time, it is attempting to fend off dedicated assistant devices, like the Amazon Echo and Alexa, confirming the rumors by announcing Google Home, a similar network-connected speaker device the company expects to ship later this year.
SoundHound, the company behind the music recognition app of the same name, has finally released its attempt at improving voice search as an iOS app, taking on Siri and Google Voice Search. Hound attempts to improve upon its main competition by using natural language processing and giving the option for users to be highly specific with their search queries, narrowing down the list of results to find exactly what the user wants.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.