Google Search for Android update brings offline voice recognition to non-Google apps [video]

February 17, 2013
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Google has recently released Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean for various Nexus devices but it also updated its Google Search for Android app with new features. Among them, there’s one particular feature that was quietly made available, offline voice recognition for third-party apps.

In other words, developers can add offline voice recognition features to their apps, although they would work offline only on Jelly Bean devices (the app can be installed on devices running Android 2.3 or higher.)

There already is one such application in the Google Play Store called utter! (the app is not necessarily new, but it’s the first to support offline voice recognition). Still in beta, utter! is available as a free download and only requires 1.8MB of storage.

Once installed, the application runs in the background and allows the user to perform various tasks on the smartphone by voice, all without needing to connect via an Internet connection to a server – after all, we’re talking about offline speech recognition here:

utter! is not your average Siri clone and doesn’t attempt to be a gimmick of a virtual assistant application, its priority is to be super functional and ultra fast! It allows many device based commands to be performed offline, without the need for a data connection (Jelly Bean only).

You can activate it by “a shake, wave, or a good old fashioned button press,” and then start giving it commands. And the developer has uploaded to YouTube an extensive video in which you can see the variety of commands that can be given to the… assistant – and without spoiling the video for you, utter! does utter a funny Siri joke:

Remember though that the app is still in beta, so you could still find the occasional bug, which the developers encourage you to report in order for it to be ironed out. That said, in order to get utter! you’ll have to install the offline voice recognition files from Android Voice Search settings and take it from there.

We’re definitely expecting more and more apps to use the offline voice recognition features now that Google has made them available to developers, but we’ll cross those bridges once we get there. How do you like utter! so far?

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