Two years ago, Google launched version 2.2 of its mobile operating system Android. One of the new standard features back then was Voice Search and during the years it gained support for 29 languages. As of today, the company brings support to 13 more languages. According to Bertrand Damiba, product manager for Google, 100 million new speakers will be able to use Voice Search on Android now, with a total of 42 languages and accents in 46 countries.
The new languages are Basque, Romanian, Bulgarian, Slovak, Finnish, Catalan, Galician, Hungarian, Icelandic, Serbian, Swedish, Norwegian and European Portuguese. According to Damiba, adding new languages is quite a challenging task for the company's scientists and engineers. Each language requires hundreds of thousands voice samples, all coming from volunteers, but some languages require more work than others.
While languages like Romanian follow predictable pronunciation rules, others, like Swedish, required that we recruit native speakers to provide us with the pronunciations for thousands of words.
Because the system is partially cloud-based, sending the voice requests back to Google's servers, the system actually improves the more people use it.
If you're on Android 2.2 or higher you already have the app installed and you can access it by tapping the microphone on the Google Search widget. You can download the app from Google Play if you're on an earlier version of Android.