One of the Nexus One’s more useful features is arguably the speech-to-text recognition service that allows you to dictate text messages, emails and web search queries. Thanks to Android 2.1 OS, the Nexus One can record your voice, send it to Google’s speech recognition servers and figure out what it is you’re trying to say. It really is a handy feature. Handy, that is, until you’re trying to get dirty with your text messages. Turns out, Google scrubs all speech recognition text clean of profanity and dirty words. Thankfully, typed text is still free of cuss-word censorship.
If you have a Nexus One close by, you might want to have it try to recognize a couple bad words. For those of you without Google’s own Android smartphone, let us paint a picture for you: You’ve had a bitch of a day. You try to speak those sentiments into a text message on your N1. Instead of transcribing your speech into an impactful bit of text, Google scrubs your spoken text and inserts “I’ve had a ### of a day.” That is how Google will censor the Nexus One and any other Android phone running Android 2.1.
Why is Google doing this? Are they looking to go Big Brother on your communications? Not exactly. Google apparently just wants to avoid a situation where a benign word or phrase might be misinterpreted as something much more naughty and accidentally sent to your mother in law. Or, as Google put it to Reuters, “We filter potentially offensive or inappropriate results because we want to avoid situations whereby we might misrecognize a spoken query and return profanity when, in fact, the user said something completely innocent.”
We can live with that. Unless your name is Martha Focker, you probably won’t mind Google’s speech recognition nanny service too much either.