New Chrome beta build brings voice input to the web

Yesterday Google released a new beta version of Chrome (Chrome 25) that includes a speech API so that web application developers can support voice input. Of course Google has had voice search for some time now, but this new API should open up a lot of new possibilities iun other apps.

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I'm a little old-fashioned when it comes to computer input but I've slowly been coming around, mostly thanks to my phone. Talking into your phone feels pretty natural, after all, and I'm not the greatest thumb typer. Anyway I decided to embrace the future of voice input, so I downloaded the Chrome beta in order to try out their demo. Here's how it is supposed to work:

I plugged in a Logitech headset I had lying around and gave it a try. Here's what I got: Hello in paragraph this is me testing the new web Speech API. It works but not as well as you might expect paragraph you'll notice text paragraph in any of my senses I'm actually saying new paragraph Google Chrome is not picking up as a command parameter inserting the words into my text. Of course these bugs worked on and things should improve over time . Hmmm, didn't work quite as well for me. This is what I actually said: Hello This is me testing the new Web Speech API. It works but not as well as you might expect. You'll notice the text 'paragraph' in many of my sentences. I'm actually saying 'new paragraph' but Chrome is not picking it up as a command but rather inserting the words into my text. Of course these bugs can be worked on and things should improve over time. Whether the problem is me, the headset or the API, I'm not sure, but clearly we still have a ways to go before the Dragon people get too worried. I hope Google sticks with this and adds voice dictation into Google apps, though. In addition to the Speech API, installing the Chrome beta might disable some extensions. Google says that third parties have widely abused an ability to install extensions when installing applications, leading to users ending up with extensions they never knew had been installed. The new Chrome build will attempt to detect these and shut them down (you can re-enable them of course). For me it shut down the Logitech SetPoint extension. Chrome indicates in your extension list which ones have been automatically disabled so it's easy to tell what's going on if something suddenly stops working. You can learn more about the latest Chrome beta on the Google Chrome Blog. Developers can dive into the Web Speech API here or dig into the nitty-gritty of beta 25 at the Chromium blog. Read more of Peter Smith's TechnoFile blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Peter on Twitter at @pasmith. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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