Google's Android Voice Search is now available in 42 languages in 46 countries, thanks to the addition of 13 more languages to the service.
Google has made it easier for people to use its
Voice Search feature for Android in native languages around the world by adding
another 13 languages to the more than two dozen it already supported.
"Voice Search is already
available in 29 languages, and today, we're
bringing support to 13 new languages for Android users
-bringing the total
to 42 languages and accents in 46 countries," wrote Bertrand Damiba, a
Google product manager, in a post on the company's Android blog.
"With Voice Search, you can
speak into your phone to get search results quickly and easily," making it
easier for travelers and people on the go to get search results without having
to type them in, Damiba wrote.
The additional languages are Basque,
Bulgarian, Catalan, European Portuguese, Finnish, Galician, Hungarian, Icelandic,
Norwegian, Romanian, Serbian, Slovak and Swedish. By adding these languages to
the 29 that were already usable with Voice Search for Android, another 100
million people around the world will be able to use the voice search services
in their native language, according to Google.
Getting the languages into the voice
search system takes a lot of work, Damiba wrote.
"Each new language usually
requires that we initially collect hundreds of thousands of utterances from
volunteers and, although we've been working on speech recognition for several
years, adding these new languages led our engineers and scientists to tackle
some unique challenges," Damiba wrote. "While languages like Romanian
follow predictable pronunciation rules, others, like Swedish, required that we
recruit native speakers to provide us with the pronunciations for thousands of
words. Our scientists then built a machine-learning system based on that data
to predict how all other Swedish words would be pronounced."
The expanded language services will
be unveiled over the next week or so.
To operate the service on phones
running Android 2.2 or later, users should see a microphone icon on the Google
Search widget on the home screen. Tap it to start a voice-powered search. If
needed, users can download and install the Voice
Search app from Google Play
, according to Damiba. "You can only speak
one language into the app at a time, and you may need to change your language
settings to use one of these new languages."
Google has been busy lately with additions and improvements to its Voice Search
and language offerings across its product lines.
Google Search's own enhanced
version of an Apple Siri-like voice-recognition system
will soon be ready
for iOS users on Apple iPhones and iPads so they can conduct more accurate
Google Web searches using voice commands. The Google Voice Search service,
which is already available for Android users, allows users to get an answer by
verbally asking a question through a user's Android device, just like Siri does
for iOS users.
Several third-party Android apps have been around for a while, which allow
Android users to get Siri-like voice-activation services on their devices.
Google already offers its Voice Actions app for Android to provide such capabilities,
as well as a Google Search app for Apple, Android and BlackBerry smartphone
users, but the upcoming Voice Search app will pull in even more Google
resources for better search results.
In May, Google announced that Gmail would again
expand the default languages in which it is available, adding
Welsh and Latin American Spanish
to the 54 languages it had previously
supported for users around the world.