Google patent points to voice search

A recently published patent provides further evidence that Google is developing a voice-activated search engine.

Patent No. 7027987, of which Google is the assignee, concerns "a voice interface for search engines. Through the use of a language model, phonetic dictionary and acoustic models, a server generates an n-best hypothesis list or word graph."

Though the patent was published Tuesday, the application was originally filed in February 2001, indicating that Google has had the project in the works for some time. A demo of something called Google Voice Search has been up on Google Labs, Google's pre-beta-test site, for well over a year.

Craig Silverstein, the director of technology at Google, said in a 2004 interview, that the company envisioned a voice interface to aid in everything from driving directions to finding groceries in a supermarket. But on Wednesday, a Google spokesman cautioned against reading too much into the publication of the patent.

"We file patent applications on a variety of ideas that our employees may come up with," Barry Schnitt said. "Some of those ideas later mature into real products or services, some don't. Prospective product announcements should not be inferred from our patent applications."

News source: News.com

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