SwiftKey Mobile Predictive Keyboard Receives a Brainy Update
Based on its neural-network research, the Microsoft subsidiary releases an updated version of its SwiftKey Keyboard for Android with smarter autocorrect.SwiftKey, the mobile predictive keyboard specialist that Microsoft acquired earlier this year, has released an update to its eponymous app that promises to deliver smarter suggestions. While billed as a timesaver, the predictive text and autocorrect functionality built into the on-screen mobile keyboards can often become a source of frustration. Oftentimes failing to deliver the desired or appropriate suggestion, predictive keyboards can quickly turn a rushed text message or hurried email into meme fodder, or worse, spark a workplace misunderstanding. With its latest update to SwiftKey Keyboard for Android, based on neural-network technology that takes cues on how human brains process information, the company claims it has made a big leap in predictive keyboard accuracy. "With this update, SwiftKey is now able to meaningfully capture the relationship and similarity between words," wrote the SwiftKey team in a blog post. "For example, having previously seen the phrase 'Let's meet at the airport,' the technology is able to infer that 'office' or 'hotel' are similar words which could also be appropriate predictions in place of 'airport.'"
Previously, SwiftKey employed an "n-gram" model that analyzed the last couple of words in a message and offered suggestions based on words that commonly follow that sequence. In contrast, the new neural network-based system is trained with millions of sentences, enabling it to understand the relationships between words and predict phrases with better accuracy, even ones it never encountered during its training.