Hands Free Apps

DragonI just downloaded a speech recognition app from Dragon on my Android phone. Speech recognition has been around for 20 years to limited success. I use them mostly to play with and understand their quality and usefulness. I have always found them maddening to use. My wife doesn’t like me to use them because I end up yelling angrily at whatever device it’s running on. The problem I find is that it gets you from 60-90% of the way there. But, worse than auto-correct, you have to modify the result to prevent the meaning from being twisted or amusingly embarrassing.

I think that does not preclude its usage. If you have one sentence than most of the time you may as well peck it out or swipe it or whatever keyboard works best for you. But ultimately you have to go to that keyboard anyway even if you are using the speech recognition app. In the case of Dragon as well as Siri and Google Now they are combining these into a series of actions where programs are launched and procedures are executed. If you want to see a How-To on speech recognition you can go to the how stuff works site.

If you combine a series of dependent serial tasks with a 90% efficiency rate you can get a balled up mess of sending ridiculous messages to very confused people. What this means is that to get these high level ‘Assistant’ apps to a useful level you need an easily verifiable, editable, multi-step application process that is easier to use than just selecting things with your finger along the way.

Today where I see thisĀ usefulĀ is if you need to type at least a paragraph and send it to someone. So open up the app in a quiet area that you can talk out loud and record the best you can. Then an auto-save within the app, like email, allows you to see and keep it then you manually edit that 10% that was wrong and you are probably ahead of the game.

Other than this scenario unless you are tech-impaired or physically impaired in some way it seems just easier and simpler to use the ever improving finger selection and typing methods. But I’m still holding out hope and in the meantime I’ll still practice yelling out, ‘Text Dad’, “no Dad’, ‘no DAD!’, ‘I SAID DAD!’… ‘Oh crap, where’s the keyboard?’


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