Google adds support for 20+ languages to Voice Search; adds the ability to dictate emoji

Google is adding voice recognition support for twenty-one additional languages and nine locales from around the world into its search app, as well as Gboard on Android and the Cloud Search API, but support for other Google products – including Google Translate – will arrive at a later date.

The new languages include eight from the Indian subcontinent, two of Africa’s most-spoken languages, and quite a few more from Eastern Europe and South-East Asia; with the addition of these 30 languages and locales, Google’s speech recognition now supports a whopping 119 language varieties.

In addition to the languages update, Google is also adding a new feature for the U.S. English speakers; it’s now possible to type an emoji by dictating terms such as “winky face emoji.”

Here is a complete list of languages and locales added with today’s update:

  • Amharic (Ethiopia)
  • Armenian (Armenia)
  • Azerbaijani (Azerbaijani)
  • Bengali (Bangladesh, India)
  • English (Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania)
  • Georgian (Georgia)
  • Gujarati (India)
  • Javanese (Indonesia)
  • Kannada (India)
  • Khmer (Cambodian)
  • Lao (Laos)
  • Latvian (Latvia)
  • Malayalam (India)
  • Marathi (India)
  • Nepali (Nepal)
  • Sinhala (Sri Lanka)
  • Sundanese (Indonesia)
  • Swahili (Tanzania, Kenya)
  • Tamil (India, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Malaysia)
  • Telugu (India)
  • Urdu (Pakistan, India)

To enable voice typing with Gboard on Android in the desired language, users will have to select it by tapping on the Google icon and browsing through the Settings. Voice Search in the Google app will also require users to pick the language they intend to ask their questions with.

Google says that it collected numerous speech samples for common phrases to train its machine learning models, but their accuracy is only bound to improve with time as native language speakers begin using the feature; the company also cites a Stanford study stating that voice dictation can be up to three times faster than typing. If so, this can certainly turn out to be a boon for people tired of charging their fingers against the keys of a keyboard, or the glass, in the case of a handheld device.

Source: Google Blog

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