Sunday, 24 April 2011

Samsung Galaxy S II (2): Voice Recognition

Well so far I've been really impressed with the Samsung Galaxy S 2 Voice Recognition. Of course it's not 100% perfect, but that's because any speech recognition software has to deal with some seriously complicated stuff. For example, below is the spectrogram of a short soundwave of me saying "blah blah blah blah...." and it's that sort of data that the recognition system is looking at. Each "blob" is the same word spoken by me: but look how different they are visually!

There is such a lot of overlap for some sounds that providing a totally accurate speech recognition software which is totally generic (will work for anyone without "training" the program) is almost impossible. This is because there is so much overlap in different accents and dialects all over the world. That being said; Vlingo on the Galaxy S 2 does a really good job! I've done two, simple, quick tests. One without background noise, and one with background noise:

Without Background Noise

With Background Noise

In German
(yes I know I'm rubbish at German)

In French
(Yes I know how bad my French is)

In the device settings there are options for "English US", "English UK", "French/Francais", "Italian/Italiano", "German/Deutsch" and "Spanish/Espanol"


  1. Is the voice recognition processed by the phone itself? Or does it get sent to Vingo for processing like the Google VR?
    If processed by the phone thats better I guess as it does not rely on a network connection etc.

  2. The "Smart Keyboard" app would switch voice recognition between EN and DE with one keystroke on my old Motorola Droid X with Verizon, but after downloading / installing both English and German dictionaries, and otherwise doing the same setup as before, I cannot get German speech recognition when changing from EN to DE on my new Samsung Galaxy Note 2 on US Cellular. I have to get into "Settings" to change the speech recognition language, which is a drag compared to a one-keystroke transition. However, predictive typing switches from EN to DE and back just fine. I lived in Germany for nine years and was married to a German for 19 years, so I have lots of German-speaking family and friends, and easily switching to and from German speech recognition is very important to me. This is potentially desirable for millions of multilingual users worldwide if they know that it is possible, so how do we go about getting Smart Keyboard with multiple language dictionaries installed to work properly in a phone that also is using the stuff pictured above, since the one-keystroke switch between voice recognition languages is a far more convenient approach than what is pictured above?

    1. Samsung responded quickly but inaccurately, snottily, and arrogantly to my query about this problem, recommending the stuff pictured above, and saying that if I don't use Samsung apps, they aren't responsible for doing stuff that screws up the apps that I do use, even if these are good apps obtained from the right sources and used successfully for years by zillions of smartphoneers. I did find a solution, though, which was to switch from "Smart Keyboard" to "Swiftkey," which is almost as easy to switch between languages for speech recognition as "Smart Keyboard," and does a much better job of predictive typing, displaying choices in all languages installed. Installing a language also goes much faster.