If you’ve tried to use Google’s Voice Search, but the results haven’t always been all that accurate, Google has rolled out a new feature for some mobile gadgets that just might help.
Similar to capabilities instituted earlier in desktop software such as Dragon Naturally speaking, Google’s new “personalized recognition” feature is designed to bring better Voice Search results by learning how you speak.
Google first rolled out Voice Search more than two years ago as an alternative to typing search queries into a search box, a process that can be especially difficult and frustrating on the small keyboards of mobile devices.
Back then, Google wanted Voice Search to “‘just work right out of the box, without an initial setup process,” according to a recent blog post from Google.
“And so, we built search recognition models broad enough to accommodate a wide variety of people, regardless of gender, age, and accents, or variations in pitch, pace, and other factors. But we always knew we could build a more accurate model by listening to your voice, and learning how you – as a unique individual – speak.”
Right now, the new personalized search feature is only available on devices running Android OS 2.2 or higher and for users of the English language in the U.S.; Google expects to add support soon for other languages and countries. Yet there’s no word at this time on whether or when support will be extended to other types of mobile devices.
To use the personalized search feature on a supported mobile device, you must first download a new Google Voice Search app from the Android Market. The first time you use Voice Search, Google will present you with a dialog to turn on personalized search.
If you opt in, Google will start to automatically associate the recordings of spoken words from your voice searches with your Google account. These words will then be used to create a personalized search model — or profile — aimed at higher accuracy in search results.
Personalized recognition is also accessible through Google voice recognition settings. Other voice recognition settings include language; “block offensive words;” SafeSearch, for filtering out explicit images; Google Account dashboard; and “show hints,” for displaying hints in the search box from your Voice Search attempts.
You can disable or enable personalized recognition, show hints, block offensive words, or SafeSearch at any time through Google’s voice recognition settings. If you want, you can also use the dashboard to disassociate your voice recordings from your Google Account.
The “block offensive words” and SafeSearch voice recognition settings apply only to Google Voice searches and results.
Google’s new Voice Search app is also geared to producing some improvements in speed and name recognition, particularly on EDGE and 3G connections.