Google's across-the-board implementation of speech-to-text in the Android platform is nothing short of groundbreaking. Never before have we seen such functionality so heavily integrated into a mobile device. But why stop with text entry? Why not take it a step further?
According to Slashgear, Google plans to incorporate real-time translation of people's phone conversations into the Android platform. This would allow two people to speak with each other in different languages without a problem. As the person on one end speaks, Google would translate his words and re-speak them to the person on the other end. Google's head of translation, Franz Och, believes that this technology will "work reasonably well in a few years' time."
"Clearly, for it to work smoothly, you need a combination of high-accuracy machine translation and high-accuracy voice recognition, and that’s what we’re working on. If you look at the progress in machine translation and corresponding advances in voice recognition, there has been huge progress recently. Everyone has a different voice, accent and pitch, but recognition should be effective with mobile phones because by nature they are personal to you. The phone should get a feel for your voice from past voice search queries, for example."
It seems like Google has a long way to go before this becomes a full blown reality, but yes, they are working on it diligently. Imagine being able to speak to your overseas cousin without having to worry about the language barrier. If Och is right, and your phone will really be able to learn from the other conversations you have, perhaps this vision of Google's will soon become a reality. Then again, Google Voice still has ways to go with basic voice transcription.