Microsoft’s internal Tellme team is working on implementing speech recognition software into the Redmond-based firm’s portfolio of software and hardware products. Microsoft will build the feature into its new Windows 8 operating system, its Bing search engine, Windows Phone, Kinect and Xbox, Azure and other products, ZDNET has learned. We already know Microsoft’s upcoming Windows Phone Mango release will offer voice-to-text and text-to-voice functionality, but Tellme senior director of sales and marketing Ilya Bukshteyn told ZDNET‘s Mary Jo Foley that the HTML 5 speech tag will allow Microsoft to develop Windows 8 applications that are “speech capable.” The Tellme team is capable of taking conversational speech, querying your social networks and creating appointments, too. For example, one might say “I’m meeting Zach Epstein for sushi in Philadelphia on Wednesday,” and the voice-recognition tech can pull “Zach Epstein” from LinkedIn or Facebook, setup a calendar event and search for sushi in Philadelphia using Bing. Of note, it looks like we’re still several years away from seeing devices capable of deciphering natural conversation. Read on for more information. More →
Microsoft threw its Windows Mobile faithful a bit of bone today by updating its Bing application with free turn-by-turn navigation. When using Bing to find directions, a new “navigate” button will allow users to navigate to their destination using voice prompts. The navigation is (obviously) powered by Bing Maps, while the voice components are provided by Microsoft’s Tellme technology. The feature is said to be available for all Windows Mobile 6.x devices on Sprint, T-Mobile, and AT&T. Verizon Wireless was not listed amongst the compatible carriers, but seeing how the Omina II was mentioned as a compatible device we think it might be possible to get the nav feature — but not the voice prompts — to work on Big Red. Point your Windows Phone to m.bing.com and let us know what you think. More →
Windows Mobile 6.5 users will be able to say bye bye to Microsoft Voice Command and hello to TellMe when next generation Windows Mobile handsets finally hit store shelves this fall. Currently available for BlackBerry handsets via a third party application (ironically provided by Microsoft as TellMe is a subsidiary of the Redmond, WA computer giant) and also present on the Samsung Instinct, TellMe will now be integrated into upcoming Windows Mobile 6.5 handsets. The new TellMe solution will feature one-button, voice-driven access to text messaging, phone dialing, traffic information, GPS data and searching via Microsoft Live search. TellMe for 6.5 will be available for free via the Windows Mobile Marketplace or as a value added feature pre-installed by carriers and handset manufacturers. Sweet!
Google announced on Tuesday a new iPhone application that allows you to make location based searches just by speaking a question into your iPhone. Your spoken question, “Where is the nearest Best Buy?” for example, is sent to Google’s server as a digital file and processed by Google’s server side voice recognition software. The converted query is then forwarded to Google’s search engine and the results are sent back to the handset, supposedly within seconds. Excellent! This is not a new concept as Microsoft already has its TellMe service, Yahoo has OneSearch and Nuance is in the process of developing its own Open Voice Search. What is interesting is Google’s choice of the iPhone and not Android for its launch platform which combines the iPhone, currently still the best selling handset in the US, with the world’s most popular search engine. Talk about bringing voice search to a large audience. The Google Mobile App with the new voice search is available now from the App store. Just to warn you, the voice search only supports U.S. English and only works with the iPhone. Sorry iPod Touch users, you need a microphone for this to work! If any of you iPhone owners out there test out the new Google voice search, give us a shout in the comments and let us know how it works for you. Hit the jump for a Google Video explaining the service.