Page Two

By Matthew Hicks  |  Posted 2004-06-01 Print this article Print

In 7.50, one thing I noticed that I havent noticed in other browsers is that you have an RSS reader built into it. Beyond what you have in that release right now, can you give me any preview of any of the features you are working on that people wouldnt have really expected or seen in the browser so far? We dont like to talk about what is coming in the future. We have mentioned one thing, and thats the voice and voice recognition. This is a natural progression from the work weve been doing with IBM with X+V [XHTML+Voice]. So, again, this is part of driving standards with IBM, Motorola and other parties.
And youve been doing that mainly for the mobile?
So far, weve been working with IBM to make tools. What were now doing is were starting to put this in the mainstream. The technology is interesting enough to start doing this, and we think this is a very important technology for the future. Not only for the desktop, where for the desktop its cool and theres accessibility—two good reasons to do it. Then you have mobile and automotive and other solutions where it makes a lot of sense. We want to be there early. We want to be at the cutting edge of technology at any one time, and that includes doing voice. Voice has been around for quite some time, but its getting to the level where its something you can start to deploy. What you guys are doing with voice, this is more than just a talking browser. Its also recognition and commanding the browser? Its bidirectional? Voice recognition for commanding and also for working inside the Web page. This is where X+V comes in, where you kind of define in the page a voice vocabulary. And then, obviously, the browser will request things and potentially read pages. Its the full thing. Why is this so important to Opera beyond being on the cutting edge of technology in how its going to be applied in the way people interact with the browser? Where do you see it being important? Certain markets like with mobile phones, you want to get smaller mobile phones and you want bigger displays. Something has to give. … Also in the automotive industry where youre not allowed to be looking at a screen when driving. Then you can use the voice technology. And also just for easier use and obviously for accessibility. The Web is too important a place to not consider accessibility. We have considered accessibility from day one. This is part of the design and work we have done. Were not saying were doing everything perfect, but at least were trying and were listening. Just a little bit of reasoning for this. My father is a doctor in psychology. His specialty is children with disabilities. So this is not just a sales pitch. And we have users with disabilities that are using Opera. Its a meaningful thing. Next page: Biggest hurdle to Opera adoption.

Matthew Hicks As an online reporter for, Matt Hicks covers the fast-changing developments in Internet technologies. His coverage includes the growing field of Web conferencing software and services. With eight years as a business and technology journalist, Matt has gained insight into the market strategies of IT vendors as well as the needs of enterprise IT managers. He joined Ziff Davis in 1999 as a staff writer for the former Strategies section of eWEEK, where he wrote in-depth features about corporate strategies for e-business and enterprise software. In 2002, he moved to the News department at the magazine as a senior writer specializing in coverage of database software and enterprise networking. Later that year Matt started a yearlong fellowship in Washington, DC, after being awarded an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellowship for Journalist. As a fellow, he spent nine months working on policy issues, including technology policy, in for a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He rejoined Ziff Davis in August 2003 as a reporter dedicated to online coverage for Along with Web conferencing, he follows search engines, Web browsers, speech technology and the Internet domain-naming system.

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