Len Klie

In Defense of Speech-to-Text

Speech technologies took another hit recently when an article in PCWorld, titled “Google Voice Failures: Lost in Transcription,” pointed to several pretty bad inaccuracies in Google’s voicemail-to-text translation service that is being offered as part of Google Voice.

In a FierceVoIP blog about this particular subject, writer Mike Dolan suggests that “probably the major reason other UC offerings do not employ this wiz-bang technology is that the software still leaves much to be desired.” That statement completely off-base for a number of reasons. For starters, many other companies, including Nuance, Yap, YouMail, and GotVoice, are offering voicemail-to-text services. A simple Google search for “voicemail-to-text” can uncover dozens of them, including most of the major telcos. In fact, the technology had so much promise that Nuance shelled out $102 million to acquire SpinVox, one of the leading providers of the service, late last year.

Dolan, and the PCWorld writer both also omit the fact—and its one that Google has freely fessed up to—that the service gets better with use.

Finally, Blogger Dolan concludes with the following statement: “The day when all our communications can be siphoned right into our Gmail are still out on the horizon somewhere.”

I suspect they’re a lot closer than he thinks.