Microsoft opens up Windows 8.1 apps to allow for speech recognition

While Windows Phone apps have had native support for speech recognition supplied by Microsoft for some time, that hasn't been the case for apps made for Windows 8 and the just launched Windows 8.1. That has now changed this week, thanks to effort from the company's Bing team.

In an update to the Bing developer blog, Microsoft has announced that the same speech recognition functionality that was enabled for Windows Phone apps can now be used by Windows 8, 8.1 and RT apps via the new Bing Speech Recognition Control. The blog states that a SpeechRecognizerUX control can be put in those apps with as little as 10 lines of code, along with a microphone button icon and a TextBlock. It adds:

When the user clicks or taps the mic, they will hear a blip, or "earcon", to signal that it's time to speak, and an audio meter will show their current volume level. While speaking, the words detected will be shown in the control. When they stop speaking, or hit the Stop button on the speech control, they will get a brief animation and then their words will appear in the TextBlock.

Obviously, the ability to add a way for Windows 8.1 apps to use speech-based features will open up some new avenues that have previously not been available before now. There's no word on when the first apps that will use these new controls will make their way to the Windows Store.

Source: Microsoft | Image via Microsoft

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17 Comments

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MorganX said,
Let's start with enabling the new alarm app.

So when it rings you can tell it to give you 5 more minutes from now on?

Yeah, I think the word recognized would be "Snooze" or "Alarm off" I love that app on the main PC in the bedroom.

Would also like that app to have a regular time view, and a shutoff timer.

Of course, if I start keeping the Surface RT on the nightstand it won't be a big deal to reach out and touch the Snooze button since it works over the lock screen. But that's one practical app I could use voice rec on.

Mobius Enigma said,
Just to be clear...

This is about adding the server side speech features of TellMe easily to Apps.

Windows 8, already has full command and narration speech recognition.
http://windows.microsoft.com/e...-8/using-speech-recognition

Right but the built in stuff is limited, looking at the newer implementation of the server side service in WP8 for example it allows for much more natural speech commands and better speed/accuracy etc.

GP007 said,

Right but the built in stuff is limited, looking at the newer implementation of the server side service in WP8 for example it allows for much more natural speech commands and better speed/accuracy etc.

Actually, the built in speech is a wider net that is less limited, as it supports full dictation and command navigation.

Using the TellMe services just offloads the processing to the MS Servers and also allows for the developer to design a limited 'scope' of commands to utilize.

In theory the built in speech recognition can be more accurate and faster as it is processed locally and can learn your habits based on your how you write and talk.

Ian William said,

Windows Speech Recognition brought to you by Windows Vista.

Exactly, just like most of the technologies in Windows 7 and 8 are built on Vista's new foundations.

I'm sure you meant this as a 'dig', but ironically, it is these foundations that made Windows 7 and 8 faster and more stable than the previous XP generation. These new technologies are essential to features found on WP8 and Xbox One.

These same new foundations provide Windows with functionality at a very low level that is impossible on OS X or Linux, with one example being the GPU kernel level virtualization/scheduling technologies.

So I agree, a lot of good things came out of Vista, and maybe someday Linux and OS X will be fortunate enough to advance and offer a comparable set of features to catch up with key features added to Windows back in 2006.

Mobius Enigma said,

Exactly, just like most of the technologies in Windows 7 and 8 are built on Vista's new foundations.

I'm sure you meant this as a 'dig', but ironically, it is these foundations that made Windows 7 and 8 faster and more stable than the previous XP generation. These new technologies are essential to features found on WP8 and Xbox One.

These same new foundations provide Windows with functionality at a very low level that is impossible on OS X or Linux, with one example being the GPU kernel level virtualization/scheduling technologies.

So I agree, a lot of good things came out of Vista, and maybe someday Linux and OS X will be fortunate enough to advance and offer a comparable set of features to catch up with key features added to Windows back in 2006.

A 'dig'? I meant it in a very good way. Windows Vista is a (mostly) wonderful operating system that receives too much hate and not enough praise.

Good, the platform is setup to become more accurate based on the amount of people using it (feeding voice data into it with correct/incorrect feedback), atm its pretty bad with my Manchester accent so i hope as more people use it it will improve.

Sounds good to me, if you have a tablet with 4G/LTE odds are you also use some VoIP app like Skype and you could very well have a Bluetooth headset paired to it. If done right it could be handy to have for people, while it might not get used by everyone no reason not to have more features available to developers to take advantage of if they want.