Does Windows Vista speech recognition actually work?

by ron on February 8, 2007

microphoneSpeech recognition in Windows Vista has been vastly improved, when compared to prior editions of this kind of technology by Microsoft.

The question is: does it work?

There’s a lot of “Vista bashing” going on at the moment, and it certainly didn’t help matters when Microsoft did a public demonstration of the speech recognition technology where the results were absolutely terrible (see the second video below).

But rather than jumping on the Vista bashing bandwagon, let me show you both sides of the story.

This video shows a user experimenting with the speech recognition technology in Vista, and shows it to be quite impressive.

This next video shows Microsoft demonstrating their speech recognition technology to a small group of people.

And then the media picked up on this story, used the worst section of that second clip above, and then made Microsoft look like fools.

So what’s the answer then? Is it worth it? Does it work?
Well, the answer to that depends on things such as: the microphone quality, your speech patterns, the amount of time you spend training the software to your voice, background noise levels, etc.

It’s not a technology that is going to do away with the keyboard and mouse. I would expect that, just as using keyboard shortcuts in combination with the mouse is more efficient than using just the mouse alone, then using your voice as a third tool (together with the other two) can only make you even more productive.


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