Type less, talk more in eight South Asian languages

August 15, 2017   /   byTalha Masood  / Categories :  Tech

Bringing down language barriers is important to making the internet more
inclusive and work for everyone. This rings particularly true for us here in Pakistan, where everyday
more Indic language users are coming online. That’s why earlier this year, we launched a set of new
products and features that help language users and better serve the needs of a billion users who are
coming online. This feature was already available for Hindi. Now, we’re taking the next step by
bringing voice input to additional eight Indic languages, including Urdu, Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada,
Malayalam, Marathi, Tamil, and Telugu. Starting today, speakers of these languages will be able to
use their voice to dictate – both in Gboard on Android as well as in Search through the Google App.
Search with your voice
Typing on your phone is slow and cumbersome (and you might walk into a street pole!). With today’s
update, searching for stuff on your phone in these eight languages will get easier and faster. Now you
can just talk to your phone to search for something and don’t need to fiddle with a tiny keyboard. For
instance if you’re on the road to Lahore, looking for local cuisine, you can just ask for “restaurants that
feature tandoori cuisine” in any one of the newly launched languages, and the Google App will display
the search results. To search with your voice in one of the eight Indic languages, open the Google
app and pick your language in the Voice settings menu (tap the top-left menu and go to Settings, then
pick Voice and select your language).
Type on Gboard with your voice
Using voice to dictate a message is not just convenient, but also up to three times faster than typing.
That’s why voice typing on Gboard can be helpful to send any kind of message from your phone
–from responding to emails on the go, to sending texts to friends on messaging apps. For instance, if
you’re stuck in traffic on your way home and want to send your family a message, you can just use
voice input through Gboard on Android to let them know that you’ll be a bit late for dinner. To enable
Voice Typing in your keyboard, install Gboard from the Play Store and pick your language (press the
G in the suggestion strip and select the Settings wheel). Then just tap the microphone to start
speaking.

Powered by machine learning
To incorporate the new language varieties, we worked with native speakers to collect speech
samples, asking them to read common phrases. This process trained our machine learning models to
understand the sounds and words of the new languages and to improve their accuracy when exposed
to more examples over time. And voice input for each of these language will get better over time, as
more and more native speakers are making use of the product.
These new languages are also available starting today in Cloud Speech API and will soon be
available across other Google apps and products, including the Translate app. With today’s update
Google’s speech recognition supports 119 language varieties, in Gboard on Android, Voice Search
and more.