The voice recognition and speech features included in Windows Phone have just gotten a huge speed boost according to Microsoft.
Speaking for Microsoft at the Windows Phone Blog, Michael Stroh and the Microsoft Bing Team announced this morning that the voice search and voice to text options that are included in every Windows Phone 8 device are now twice as fast as they were before and “15 percent more accurate”.
To understand why this is such a breakthrough for the company you first have to understand where voice search and speech to text originate. Having been able to reach across the aisle to use the speech recognition technology that it acquired with the purchase of TellMe, all voice applications in Windows Phone, rely on Bing. It’s that team that partnered with Microsoft Reach to implement new technologies to speed up the process of processing voice.
Right now most voice processing is done by the Bing service itself, not by the device, introducing a slight lag in-between the time a user does something with voice recognition and the time the device actually does anything with what it thinks it heard.
Microsoft is apparently able to use techniques pioneered by the Microsoft Research team to speed up that process saying, “Over the past year, we’ve been working closely with Microsoft Research (MSR) to address limitations of the previous voice experience. To achieve the speed and accuracy improvements, we focused on an advanced approach called Deep Neural Networks (DNNs). DNN is a technology that is inspired by the functioning of neurons in the brain. In a similar way, DNN technology can detect patterns akin to the way biological systems recognize patterns”.
The video, which was posted by Microsoft as part of today’s announcements, best displays the differences between the hold approach and this newer approach.
Currently Bing Voice search is only available to Windows Phone users. Though today’s blog post only points out that voice search has been improved on Windows Phone devices, there are also Bing applications with voice search for iOS and Android users.
It’s also unknown of if these speed improvements will also surface on the Xbox 360. It also features Bing voice search integration for users who have a Kinect sensor.