Speech


How to make the most of Roku voice controls

PCWorld

If you want to control a Roku player or Roku smart TV by voice, you have lots of options. Many Roku devices include a remote control that supports voice commands, and you can also control Roku hands-free with an Amazon Echo or Google Home smart speaker. But along with all those voice control options comes several limitations, especially when it comes to launching videos or TV channels directly. Knowing what Roku can and can't do will spare you some headaches when you're barking out orders. We'll talk through how to get set up with Roku voice controls, a list of supported voice commands, and some tips for making your experience smoother.


Microsoft Word reads to you: How to use the Speak and Read Aloud commands

PCWorld

Can Microsoft Word read to me? Yes, it can. The Speak feature was incorporated into Microsoft Office (Word, Outlook, PowerPoint, etc.) back in version 2003. It was called Text to Speech (TTS) then, and it functioned much the same as it does now. Fortunately, it's a very simple procedure to set up and use, so you can get started immediately. Press Ctrl A to select the entire document.


Google offers new offline voice recognition feature AndroidPIT

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In 2012, research in the field of speech recognition showed important advances produced by automatic learning, more precisely with the use of deep neural networks for acoustic modeling. These developments enabled the adoption of this function in products such as Google's search engine, also known as Google Voice Search. But that was only the beginning of a whole revolution; new architectures began to appear every year, to improve recognition technology: from deep (DNN) and recurrent (RNN) neural networks to convolutional neural networks, to name a few examples. One of the most important objectives of these architectures has always been to reduce latency. In other words, shorten the waiting time between speech and recognition.


Move over Siri, Alexa: Google's offline voice recognition breakthrough cuts response lag

ZDNet

If you're one of the few people who own a Google Pixel phone, you'll soon be able to experience voice recognition without the internet. Google has announced the rollout of "an end-to-end, all-neural, on-device speech recognizer to power speech input in Gboard", the company's keyboard with Google Search baked in. The technology could give Google an edge over Siri and Alexa in convincing people to talk to machines through phones and home speakers that can deliver answers faster, by cutting down the latency that comes with sending a request from a device to a remote server and waiting for a response. The company has enabled on-device voice recognition by miniaturizing a machine-learning model that can do the task on a phone rather than handing off the job to a server in the cloud. Google researchers detailed the on-device technique in a paper published on arXiv.org in November called'Streaming End-to-end Speech Recognition For Mobile Devices'.


Google squeezed an offline dictation AI into its keyboard app

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Google has updated its Gboard keyboard app for Android with AI-powered dictation that works offline. The company says it's effectively miniaturized a cloud-based neural network system for speech recognition into an 80MB mobile app update, and that it'll allow for faster and more reliable dictation on the go. That's big, because it means you don't need your phone connecting to a server to deliver high-quality speech recognition results – and you also don't need to have access to a high-speed Wi-Fi network to use the feature. Google, Reddit, and Slack will be there. The new system has been in the works since 2014, and it eschews the traditional three-step process for speech recognition for a single-step solution.


Google's real-time speech recognition AI can run offline on Pixel

Engadget

You can now dictate your texts with Google's Gboard keyboard even when you're offline, at least if you use a Pixel. Google's AI team announced that it updated the Gboard's speech recognizer to recognize characters one-by-one as they're spoken, and it is now hosted directly on the device. By no longer having to send data over the internet, Gboard's voice typing should now be faster and more reliable. Google explained in a blog post that it wanted to create a speech recognizer that was "compact enough to reside on a phone" and wouldn't be derailed by unreliable WiFi or mobile networks. Voice recognition traditionally works by breaking apart the words you speak into smaller parts known as phonemes, according to Science Line.


Google's new voice recognition system works instantly and offline (if you have a Pixel)

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Voice recognition is a standard part of the smartphone package these days, and a corresponding part is the delay while you wait for Siri, Alexa or Google to return your query, either correctly interpreted or horribly mangled. Google's latest speech recognition works entirely offline, eliminating that delay altogether -- though of course mangling is still an option. The delay occurs because your voice, or some data derived from it anyway, has to travel from your phone to the servers of whoever operates the service, where it is analyzed and sent back a short time later. This can take anywhere from a handful of milliseconds to multiple entire seconds (what a nightmare!), or longer if your packets get lost in the ether. Why not just do the voice recognition on the device?


Gboard on Pixel phones now uses an on-device neural network for speech recognition

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On-device machine learning algorithms afford plenty of advantages, namely low latency and availability -- because processing is performed locally as opposed to remotely on a server, connectivity has no bearing on performance. Google sees the wisdom in this: It today announced that Gboard, its cross-platform virtual keyboard app, now uses an end-to-end recognizer to power American English speech input on Pixel smartphones. "This means no more network latency or spottiness -- the new recognizer is always available, even when you are offline," Johan Schalkwyk, a fellow on Google's Speech Team, wrote in a blog post. "The model works at the character level, so that as you speak, it outputs words character-by-character, just as if someone was typing out what you say in real-time, and exactly as you'd expect from a keyboard dictation system." It's more complicated than it sounds.


How voice is becoming the fastest way to go online - ETtech

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Students of the Brihanmumbai municipal school in Andheri's DN Nagar are now privy to that savoury secret after the Google boss' visit here last week. And when a student asked Pichai what it takes to be an engineer, the boy next doorturned-Silicon Valley pin-up said, "Do you have a radio and TV at home? When it gets old, just learn to break that apart." It was the perfect photo-op. But Pichai used this opportunity to see how Bolo -- a reader app powered by Google AI for text-to-speech and speech recognition -- works on the ground.


Control your world with just your fingertips

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The QWERTY typewriter was introduced in 1872, and since then tapping on a keyboard or screen has become the standard way to interact with digital technology. But this isn't always convenient or safe, so new "touchless" ways to control machines are being developed. Imagine being out for a jog, headphones on, and wanting to turn up the volume without breaking your stride. Or receiving a "new message" alert on your phone while driving and wanting to activate the text-to-speech function without taking your eye off the road. These are scenarios where touchless control would come in handy.