Web speech effort gets Microsoft boost

Microsoft is making a double-barreled effort to trigger new action on a flagging Web speech specification. The software titan has commissioned demonstrations of its toolkit for building voice-powered Web applications, while a Microsoft-backed group responsible for the technology has changed its rules to drum up more members. Microsoft said that it has paid Vertigo Software to produce demonstrations of the second test version of Microsoft's Speech Software Development Kit (SDK), for which the company started taking orders in October as part of its .Net initiative for providing applications and services online.

The demonstrations, available from Microsoft's Web site, show how Microsoft's speech technologies group. "The languages have been proprietary, the tools have not been good, and the knowledge of being able to develop them has been held by a small number of people."

To demonstrate the comparative ease with which developers could add speech to their pages and applications, Microsoft hired Vertigo--a Web development company with no experience in speech interfaces, according to Microsoft--to add a speech component to two ASP.net applications. Vertigo was not available for comment. "Our tools, which integrate with Visual Studio.Net, give developers drag-and-drop controls and other graphical tools, and let developers work in a way that they are familiar with," Mastan said. "The key point is that it's not that hard to do, and if you're a Web developer, you already have the skill sets to do this."

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News source: c|net

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