Nuance Communications, the folks behind Dragon Naturally Speaking and other Dragon voice recognition products has released an iPhone App called Dragon Go! that gets us a little closer to controlling what we do on the iPhone using our voice. It is an improvement over what’s been there before. It’s not perfect, and it has some flaws. But, if you’re like me and believe that voice recognition is the real key to mobile technology in the future, it is worth taking a look at the free App.
Keep in mind that there is some interesting, well, let’s call it incestuous, stuff going on with Nuance and Apple here. Speculation still continues that there will be some sort of grand partnership between Nuance and Apple for voice recognition on iOS. And in fact, Apple bought Siri, a personal assistant voice control software App, leading many to think that’s where Apple was headed for a future version of iOS. But intriguingly, the guts behind what makes Siri tick is actually Nuance technology. So, there’s more twists and turns there than there are southern US dialects.
Dragon Go! mostly works as advertised in my limited testing. You hit the red record button, speak into the device and it pulls up relevant results with Apps on your iOS device (it will work on the iPad but in that silly 2X mode). This is the key to Dragon Go! at the moment. Across the top of your results you see Tabs for relevant Apps on your phone. To get to those tabs you need to learn how to speak to the App. For example if you say “showtimes for Harry Potter” and have the Fandango App installed it will pull up results in that App. Theoretically the App with the most relevant results moves to the center of the Tab display. Yes, this uses location services to try and give you relevant results near you. Another example is to say “Directions to (name your location) and the Maps App pops up with results.
The idea behind this is to use the tools already installed on your device via voice search to deliver you the results you are looking for by talking to the Dragon Go! App.
As I said it mostly works well in my early testing but the App does have some quirks and failings. Sometimes it is difficult to get back to the Dragon Go! interface from the App that you select to view results. And of course no matter how much Nuance moves voice recognition forward (and they are clearly the leader in this field) depending on how clearly you speak and the ambient noise ar0und you can get some interesting but not accurate results.