01.03.2019Tech

Get better results with voice recognition

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There are so many times it’s easier to talk to your mobile phone than type, like dictating a long text message, speaking a search request while you’re walking, or giving a GPS destination while you’re driving (that one’s a safety imperative). In fact, the number of voice queries has gone up a whopping 3,400% in the past year, and half of all searches are expected to be done using voice a year from now. Today, 42% of adults in the U.S. use voice assistants like Apple’s Siri or Google Assistant on smartphones. And that’s not even counting the digital assistants being used at home. Devices like Amazon Echo have fans who are too young to read and write.

Talking to devices can be so much faster and more convenient than typing – when the device gets the message right. But then there’s the frustration factor, like when you tell your phone to text “I’ll be home at 9” and it writes “I’ll be home at mine” or the GPS just can’t seem to understand your where you want to go. The inaccuracies have been enough to make many people give up. (If you’re one of them, it may be time to try again because the accuracy of voice recognition has improved dramatically over the past few years.)

The number of voice queries has gone up a whopping 3,400% in the past year. A year from now, half of all searches are expected to be done using voice.

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Did you know you can improve the accuracy of voice-enabled interactions and dictation? Here’s how to get better results:

1. Talk your way. Have you ever noticed that your device fails more often just when you wish it wouldn’t – when you’re tired, excited or in a rush? That’s because your voice is less distinct at times like these. It’s tempting to start speaking like a robot to get it to understand you. After all, it is a machine. But today’s devices are always learning, and if you talk like a robot, that doesn’t always help. Shouting can backfire too. It’s fine to talk with your usual voice, but do feel free to slow down and speak clearly. That can certainly help. 

2. Say your punctuation. Punctuation makes it a lot easier to understand your message. When you’re texting, your device can add punctuation if you know how to say it. Simply say “period” at the end of a sentence. You can also add a comma, question mark, exclamation point and most other common punctuation. You can even say “dot dot dot” or “smiley face.”

3. Avoid background noise. The microphones that are listening to you speak have gotten more sensitive and capable over the years, but that can backfire just a bit. If you’re struggling to get your message across clearly, consider what else the mic may be picking up. If you can’t turn down the background noise, try cupping your hand around the microphone or bringing the device closer so it has an easier time picking up your voice.

4. Add your words. Have you noticed your phone getting the same things wrong, like the way you spell your dog’s name? If the app or device you’re using has a dictionary, you may be able to fix that by adding the word. If the auto-complete feature doesn’t automatically offer the dictionary option, check for it under settings.

“I hope this us guelpful.”

“Iq hope this is hepful.”

'' “I hope this has been helpful.”

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