Google says Voice Search is now faster and more accurate

by: John DyeSeptember 24, 2015


If you feel like Google’s voice recognition is working a little better than it used to, that’s because it is! Today Google reported that their widely-used voice search capability is now being handled by a new engine that recognizes and anticipates words with a much higher degree of accuracy.

Google says that these advancements are thanks to the development of more effective neural network acoustic models through the use of “Connectionist Temporal Classification (CTC) and sequence discriminative training techniques.” 

On the Google Research Blog, members of the Google Speech Team including Haşim Sak, Andrew Senior, Kanishka Rao, Françoise Beaufays and Johan Schalkwyk wrote that “These models are a special extension of recurrent neural networks (RNNs) that are more accurate, especially in noisy environments, and they are blazingly fast!”

In short, Google is now even better at correctly recognizing your speech, especially in situations with a lot of background noise, and the delay between speech and interpretation has been made even shorter.

This is the second time in 2015 that Google has announced improvements in their voice search capabilities. The recurrent neural networks that Google is using for their voice models are widely used in the approach to artificial intelligence called “deep learning.” 

Andrew Ng, who worked on the Google Brain, predicted in 2014 that “50% of queries will be on speech or images” within five years. With speech recognition becoming an increasingly popular choice of human-computer interaction, it’s no surprise that Google is pulling out all the stops when it comes to developing better voice search functionality.

This new update is already in effect for all Android and iOS devices, so if you haven’t said “OK Google” in a while, now’s a good time experience how effective the company’s voice recognition technology has become.

  • msyuling

    one thing I missed is the ability to command “Okay Google” in any screen which they have remove it in the latest update :-(

    • andy

      you can enable in in the Google settings

  • Randy N. Gaston

    I have noticed that I haven’t had to repeat myself lately and that it is much faster with an answer.

  • Tom_Slaapstad

    It’s still kak. My parrot (speaker phone with voice dialing) has a higher strike rate (almost 100%) than Google. I tried again yesterday. Google gets less than 50% first time, and probably about 20% after numerous attempts and over 30% not at all.

    • Blowntoaster

      miskien praat jy kak engels. :,D
      your pronunciation needs to be clear and spot on for Google to recognize what you are trying to say.
      Slurry speech and rushed words don’t get recognized by Google now

      • Tom_Slaapstad

        Thanks for that Captain obvious.

        Unfortunately I am English,I would hate to see what how google would interpret English with an Afrikaans accent. Anyway, if you offer a service, if you tell a person “you’re not saying it right” means the technology has failed. Chances are, they won’t use it again.

        @@alexseiffert:disqus Shame dude, even google will tell it’s not anywhere near 99.9% accurate. If you go to the extreme you loose credibility. The reason why the brought out the update is not because it was already 999/1000 correct. Think about that.

        The fact is, a parrot speaker phone should outperform a google service (by a long margin). And it’s a shame, because I would prefer to use a universal search.

    • Alex

      That is simply not true. Speak clearly, stop mumbling and Google gets 99,9% of what you say.

    • theemptyhead

      Stop lying dude. Not only english but google can also differentiate if i’m speaking in english or japanese on the fly. It is simply amazing. I think it’s accuracy is above 90%.

  • Matthew Beckett

    But you still can’t use Android Wear voice commands without 4G or WiFi without it saying Offline.