New Microsoft software can translate voices into foreign languages

By on March 12, 2012 at 1:00 PM.

New Microsoft software can translate voices into foreign languages

Researchers at Microsoft have created software that can translate a user’s voice into a foreign languages, a solution with the potential to revolutionize communications, MIT’s Technology Review reported on Monday. “We will be able to do quite a few scenario applications,” said Microsoft researcher Frank Soong. “For a monolingual speaker traveling in a foreign country, we’ll do speech recognition followed by translation, followed by the final text to speech output [in] a different language, but still in his own voice.” Read on for more. More →

No Comments

Google to launch pilot program for Android-based HUD glasses

By on February 6, 2012 at 2:05 PM.

Google to launch pilot program for Android-based HUD glasses

Google has reportedly been hard at work developing glasses with a built-in heads-up display (HUD) on one lens. The glasses reportedly look very similar to Oakley’s Thump sunglasses, which allowed users to load songs onto a small flash drive and listen to tunes through integrated ear buds. According to 9to5Google, the glasses will be equipped with “hardware near the equivalent of a generation-old Android smartphone,” which means we’ll likely see a 1GHz processor and internal storage in the 8GB to 16GB range. The glasses will also be capable of voice input and output according to the report, and they will be able to capture photos using a front-facing camera. A user may even be able to navigate through menu items by tilting his or her head, 9to5Google said. The pilot program for Google’s HUD glasses is expected to launch soon but the devices are reportedly still far from ready for a mass roll out. More →

No Comments

Inspired by Siri’s success, Nuance acquires Vlingo

By on December 20, 2011 at 12:05 PM.

Inspired by Siri’s success, Nuance acquires Vlingo

Nuance announced on Tuesday that it plans to acquire Vlingo, a voice-to-text and voice recognition technology firm that was once the subject of a Nuance lawsuit. Nuance senior manager Mike Thompson said the decision was made after his company realized there’s a $5 billion market opportunity as demand increases for voice engine products such as Apple’s Siri voice engine, which is powered in part by Nuance technology. “Inspired by the introduction of services such as Apple’s Siri and our own Dragon Go!, virtually every mobile and consumer electronics company on the planet is looking for ways to integrate natural, conversational voice interactions into their mobile products, applications, and services,” Mike Thompson, Senior Vice President and General Manager, of Nuance Mobile said. “By acquiring Vlingo, we are able to accelerate the pace of innovation to meet this demand.” The terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. Nuance’s full press release follows after the break.

More →

No Comments

Google Voice calls within U.S. and Canada free for another year

By on December 13, 2011 at 8:00 PM.

Google Voice calls within U.S. and Canada free for another year

Google on Tuesday announced that calls placed within the United States and Canada using Google Voice will continue to be free through the end of 2012. “This is our way of helping you connect with friends and family across the country,” Group Product Manager Vincent Paquet wrote on a company blog. Google stated last year that calls made within the U.S. and Canada would be free through 2011, but the company is extending the promotion through 2012 for reasons unknown. Google Voice was born from Google’s acquisition of GrandCentral in 2007, and the later acquisition of Gizmo5 in 2009 is expected to eventually add VoIP capabilities to the service. For the time being, VoIP calling is only supported from within Gmail. More →

No Comments

Amazon quietly acquires Yap in clear bid to combat Siri

By on November 9, 2011 at 4:35 PM.

Amazon quietly acquires Yap in clear bid to combat Siri

Amazon recently quietly purchased Yap, a Charlotte-based company that specializes in voice-to-text technology. CLTBlog, a Charlotte-focused website, discovered a recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that doesn’t actually name Amazon as the purchaser of Yap, but it does attribute the acquisition to a company called “Dion Acquisition Sub,” and the “Surviving Corporation” listed by the SEC has the same address as an Amazon.com office located on 410 Terry Avenue in Seattle, Washington. Read on for more. More →

No Comments

Sprint says tablets need voice to succeed

By on November 9, 2011 at 3:30 PM.

Sprint says tablets need voice to succeed

As also-ran media tablets continue to launch in rapid succession, Sprint says slates are missing a key ingredient needed before consumers will bite: voice. Sprint’s director of business product marketing Jeff Adelmann believes that before tablets can be widely adopted, they need cellular connectivity and telephony capabilities that are far more deeply integrated than current third-party solutions. “When [tablets] become a communication device, then you want ubiquitous connectivity, and Wi-Fi can’t provide that,” Adlemann said during a recent Open Mobile Summit session. Read on for more. More →

No Comments

New carrier to offer $19 unlimited voice, text and data on November 8th

By on November 2, 2011 at 1:00 AM.

New carrier to offer $19 unlimited voice, text and data on November 8th

A new wireless carrier named Republic Wireless, a part of Bandwidth.com, will begin to offer unlimited voice, text and data plans on November 8th for just $19 per month. How is that possible? Republic Wireless will route calls and text messages over Wi-Fi networks when available, and when you’re outside of one it will send the calls over a standard cell network. According to GigaOm, Republic Wireless will buy minutes in bulk from Sprint and then resell them to its customers. The carrier will offer special Android phones with support for voice calling over Wi-Fi networks using technology similar to UMA, a feature in several of T-Mobile’s Android and BlackBerry devices. Reportedly, Republic Wireless will also offer unlimited 3G without any data caps. More →

No Comments

Google Translate for Android now supports 14 languages [video]

By on October 13, 2011 at 9:40 PM.

Google Translate for Android now supports 14 languages [video]

Google updated its Translate application for Android devices on Thursday with support for 11 additional languages as part of a major update. The application will now translate and speak English, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, Czech, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin Chinese, Polish, Russian and Turkish. Google originally launched the conversation feature of Google Translate in January of this year and subsequently added support for Japanese in the wake of the country’s earthquake and tsunami crisis. Users can speak words and then correct them, if there was an error, before the phone speaks them in the translated language. The text translation aspect of Google Translate offers support for 63 different languages. A video of the application in action follows after the break.  More →

20 Comments

Mock-up shows off iOS 5 ‘Assistant’ voice controls [video]

By on September 30, 2011 at 6:30 PM.

Mock-up shows off iOS 5 ‘Assistant’ voice controls [video]

Apple’s Siri and Nuance-powered “Assistant” voice control feature expected to launch with iOS 5 has hardly been a secret, and now MacRumors has commissioned a video mock-up of the service based on what we know so far. The video shows, for example, that a user might be able to hold down the home button to activate the application and speak a command, not unlike Apple’s simple voice controls today. Assistant should step today’s capabilities up quite a bit, however. The service will likely scour your phone’s contents or the web to deliver results, and it may even be capable of replying to you; in the MacRumors video, Assistant asks the user if he would like to text a contact’s mobile or work number. We expect to hear more about Assistant during Apple’s iPhone event on October 4th. Read on for the full video. More →

92 Comments

Verizon to ‘Unleash’ $50 unlimited prepaid plan this week

By on September 13, 2011 at 4:40 PM.

Verizon to ‘Unleash’ $50 unlimited prepaid plan this week

In an effort to edge in on MetroPCS and Sprint-owned Boost and Virgin Mobile, Verizon Wireless will introduce a brand new $50 monthly prepaid this week that includes unlimited text, talk and web, The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday. The new plan, which first launched back in April as “Unleashed” in limited markets, will be available to customers in Verizon stores, Walmart, Target and Best Buy. The new plan is much cheaper than Verizon’s current unlimited talk and text prepaid option, which currently costs $94.99 per month. “This is a very competitive market, and we want to make sure we have a price portfolio to fit a greater number of customers,” Verizon Wireless spokeswoman Brenda Raney said. “In these times there are some people who would prefer living on a prepaid plan.” Read on for more. More →

52 Comments

Google implementing native video chat tech into Chrome

By on June 22, 2011 at 11:11 PM.

Google implementing native video chat tech into Chrome

Google has started to build its open-source WebRTC software into its Chrome web browser, according to CNET. WebRTC was introduced in May as a new open tech that allows developers to create quick HTML and Javascript APIs for building voice and video chat applications on the web. With WebRTC built into Chrome, users would presumably be able to initiate video chats over Gmail’s Google Talk chat application without the need for installing Google’s plug-in first. “Our goal is to enable Chrome with Real-Time Communications (RTC) capabilities via simple Javascript APIs,” Henrik Andreasson, a Google employee on the WebRTC project said. “We are working hard to provide full RTC support in Chrome all the way from WebKit down to the native audio and video parts.” More →

4 Comments

Google intros voice and image search [video]

By on June 15, 2011 at 7:31 AM.

Google intros voice and image search [video]

Google on Tuesday unveiled several tweaks to its core search product, including the ability to search by voice or image. Image-based searching has been around for quite a while now, but Google intends to popularize the alternative search method by supporting it right from within the main Google Images search engine. Users can initiate searches using images hosted on the Web, or they can upload images from a PC to start a search. Searches initiated by a photo will return both text and image-based results. The second major feature announced on Tuesday might have slightly less utility among the majority of users — voice search for Google’s desktop site. The service works just like Google’s mobile voice-based search service, but it is integrated with the company’s desktop search engine. We’re not sure what benefit voice-based desktop searches provide for the typical user, but the feature is live and ready to try in the latest version of Google’s Chrome browser. Hit the break for videos highlighting Google’s new voice and image-based search services. More →

6 Comments

iOS to get Siri-powered voice commands ahead of launch

By on June 7, 2011 at 7:33 PM.

iOS to get Siri-powered voice commands ahead of launch

Citing a source claimed to be reliable, tech blogger Robert Scoble says enhanced voice commands will be included in iOS 5 when it launches this fall. Apple acquired Siri last year, presumably with the intention of enhancing the lackluster voice command support found in iOS. It has been rumored for quite some time that Apple would be making enhanced voice commands a major part of iOS 5, but Steve Jobs’ WWDC keynote came and went with no mention of voice commands. Scoble claims that his source — one who spoke accurately of the deep Twitter integration Apple showed off on Monday weeks ahead of WWDC — said Apple’s voice command integration wasn’t ready to show off at the show. The feature will be a part of iOS 5, however, and will perhaps be unveiled this fall when Apple is expected to announce its next-generation iPhone. More →

33 Comments