In brief

17 August 2017

Internet

-Google is expanding its speech recognition capabilities to support dozens of new languages, particularly those in emerging markets in India and Africa. That means more people around the world will gain the ability to search the web by voice as well as type via voice using Google’s keyboard app, Gboard.

The company says with the update, it’s adding 30 languages and locales around the world, bringing the total supported to 119. The update includes Swahili and Amharic, two of Africa’s largest languages. The new speech recognition will be initially supported in Gboard for Android and Voice Search. U.S. English speakers, meanwhile, can now use voice dictation to express themselves using emojis, too. (e.g. you can just say “winky face emoji” instead of hunting for it.)

The new languages are also available today in the Cloud Speech API which already supported 89 languages, and is used in a number of third-party voice and video applications, like transcription services, speech analytics applications, IVR applications, and more. In time, the new languages will be added to other Google products, including the Google Translate app.