These programs are pretty expensive, but if you”˜re an iPhone or iPod touch user and you want to get an idea of their capabilities, Nuance has created two versions of free voice recognition software for iPhone, Dragon and Dragon Search, for Apple”˜s leading mobile devices.
These Dragon voice recognition software apps for iPhone are similar to the Google Mobile App for searching. With these programs, you simply tap the record button, speak your search terms, and voila, you get almost instant search results. Google’s app is of course limited to its search engine, but Dragon search includes options for searching Google, Wikipedia, Twitter, YouTube, and the iTunes Store.
When the search results come up, you simply slide your finger to move to the other options. If you want a few other options besides Google, the program can be configured to use Yahoo or Bing as the default search provider. To do so, you need to select from the main iPhone screen the Settings app, Dragon Search>Search Provider. From there, select your default provider.
The Dragon Search program also includes a “Detect End-of-speech“ option which detects when you have finished speaking and automatically clicks the Done button for you. Of course, in noisy environments it probably won’t work as accurately.
My experience with the voice recognition software for iPhone has been very positive. The Dragon apps are amazingly accurate, and they don’t require direct voice training. The more you use them, the better they get at recognizing your voice, so avoid sharing the program with other people. Also, currently the program can only be used for English speakers. Nuance has text-to-speech solutions for 50 different languages, so no doubt its mobile apps will be expanded for other languages in the near future.
Apple has included some voice search features in its latest updates to the iPhone and the iPod touch, but these features could be a lot better. With Dragon, you can dictate entire sentence and paragraphs. You must speak clearly and pronounce the punctuation you want included in the text. So of course at the end of a sentence, you would say, “period” or “question mark,” Speech dictation can be a little awkward at first, so Dragon is very useful for getting the hang of it.
The program also accesses the iPhone/iPod touch keyboard so that you can make corrections where needed. If you want to add additional text to what you have already written, simply put the cursor where you want to begin, and tap the record button; it will capture and write your spoken text.
Unfortunately the device can’t be used with Bluetooth mic devices; however, if you must type something on your iPhone while driving, Dragon is the safest option for doing so.
When you’re done, Dragon provides built-in options for sending text to Mail, Text Message or to the clipboard. Now doesn’t that sound like a feature that should be built into the next iPhone update, so that when you want to dictate a new email or text message, you can do so without having to open a program like Dragon? Not only is this method faster, but it can be a great way for helping users learn how to dictate writing and commands on desktop and laptop computers.
Finally, if you really need to share the program with others, you will want to again go to Settings>Dictation>Reset Enrollment On. This way, because your friends will probably sound different from you, it’s easier to delete the enrollment profile than letting them use yours. And as the instructions point out, “Conversely if you start using the system again you should execute the same steps once more.”
Voice recognition technology is getting better and better. Let us know if and how you use voice recognition in your computer workflow.