I installed the Microsoft speech engine this past weekend and played around with it. I have to admit that I’m not overly pleased by Microsoft XP Speech Recognition. I found it cumbersome and not very intuitive. Perhaps I am overly used to working with Dragon Naturally Speaking. The recognition accuracy with the Microsoft system was not terrible but making corrections was extremely slow and in my opinion, not as easily done as in Dragon.
I dictated this article with the Microsoft speech engine and have had approximately 96% accuracy. However, it does not seem to recognize commands easily. In fact it takes multiple tries to get it to recognize a command on occasion. I still do not think it is something I would want to use on a daily basis and multiple times per day.
The lack of being able to make macros, the lack of usability for all my programs, the lack of saving user files and being able to move them and save them makes me recognize that the Dragon program I have really works well for me.
Overall, I can see why there is a difference between a program that I have paid for and a program that comes with the software on the machine. One program feels like a beginners model while the other feels as though it is truly a working level program. I still hold to my position that the Microsoft XP speech is effective in terms of making people aware that speech recognition does exist. I do not think this is a program that would excite people and get them to believe there is truly a good reason to use speech recognition on a regular basis. I might find the Microsoft version useful if I needed to dictate only rarely.
I know that my opinion is just my opinion, but again I am a heavy user of Dragon and find the ease of navigating with Dragon to be one of the reasons why it works well.
It was interesting when I was researching the differences between the three versions of Dragon Naturally Speaking. Several people whose opinions I respect greatly in the field of speech recognition were very clear that they also found the Microsoft system to be less than adequate. They also found that Dragon Naturally Speaking Standard Edition to be less than effective. Perhaps the Vista version with their Macro ability and improved accuracy will be better than the XP version.
I will be testing the Vista speech version shortly. Hopefully, there are changes with the Vista program that allow more user friendliness. In the meantime back to my Dragon.