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Google Introduces Cloud Speech API

By Paula Bernier
March 23, 2016

APIs and speech recognition are two of the hottest trends in communications and networking today, and Google is making news on both fronts via its introduction of the Google Cloud Speech API. The company is making the API available free of charge (at least initially) to third-party developers.

The API can convert audio to text, recognizes more than 80 languages and dialects, can function even in noisy environments, and employs machine learning so its accuracy improves with time and experience. It also can filter out inappropriate content.

“You can transcribe the text of users dictating to an application’s microphone or enable command-and-control through voice among many other use cases,” Google explains.

The API can stream text results, returning partial recognition results as they become available, with the recognized text appearing immediately while speaking; alternatively, it can do speech recognition in batches at any time following a communication, the company says.

The Google Cloud Speech API, according to some reports, is positioned as a direct competitor to Nuance (which reportedly helps power Apple’s Siri) and other voice recognition companies.

Nuance offers a voice recognition solution called Dragon, which works across Android, iOS, PC, and Mac devices. In recent months Nuance has expanded Dragon to address various industry verticals, including versions targeted at the legal and medical professions. And the company is in beta with Nuance Mix, a set of speech and natural language tools for developers.

APIs and other developer tools are becoming more important as every company today is now a digital company, as organizations that deliver enterprise solutions work to communication-enable those solutions, and as communications companies continue to integrate their capabilities in existing business systems to meet companies where they are. So important are APIs today that TMC has launched a new event called All About the API, which will take place July 18 through 21 in Las Vegas.

Tying into all this is another important trend: the Internet of Things. Nuance has been writing lately about the need to integrate voice recognition capabilities into the Internet of Things, and points out that the new Samsung Family Hub Refrigerator will employ Nuance’s voice recognition technologies. Meanwhile, Amazon has garnered a lot of attention with it Echo device, a stand-alone home device that enables people to call on a digital person assistant named Alexa to complete tasks.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

Executive Editor, TMC

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