Speech technology is soon going to be in the palm of everyone’s hands. 2011 has been named ‘year of the voice’ and phones seem to be first to adopt it.

Merriam Webster, of dictionary fame, has recently launched a smartphone app that allows users to search for definitions using their keyboards – and also using voice commands.

“If you don’t know how to spell a word you can’t look it up, but you’re looking it up to find out how to spell it. It’s Catch 22. Voice search addresses that need.” Says Merriam and Webster representative. The app hit the million download mark in the first month.

Apps that translate voice into text, tweet, email or Facebook updates are becoming more and more popular. Keyboards can be difficult to use – voice makes operating your phone easier and more personal. A virtual personal assistant on the US version of the Amazon app will even call you a cab if you tell it you’re drunk.

A long way from the days when computers analysed your voice phonetically, speech technology has improved in leaps and bounds. Now it can match voice patterns and matching words against existing words and recordings. This ability will allow all accents to be understood and will allow users to personalise the software to their own speech.

The balance now is for providers to create an app for a smart phone that will refer to cloud computing for the bulk of the work.

For more information on speech and voice technology, give Molo a call.