Google has just acquired the speech technology company Phonetic Arts and this could eventually lead to stronger voice support on Android handsets.
According toe Phonetic Arts website, the company specializes in “technology that generates natural expressive speech, allowing computer games to say any sentence in any type of voice.” How will the search giant be using this acquisition?
Well, according to the Google blog, the company says there is still a lot to do with voice output. Sure, Android can already give you audible turn-by-turn directions with Google Navigation but there are plenty of other areas where I could see this being useful on a mobile phone.
Wouldn’t it be great if your Android handset could read your e-mails out loud to you while you’re driving? Heck, one could even see the Phonetic Arts technology being using to read you e-books from the Android book store.
This is just the latest move to utilize voice on these mobile devices for a more natural and intimate way of computing. As Google mentions in its blog post, most of the innovation in this space has been focused on voice input, as evidenced by the Android app Voice Actions.
The Android competitors aren’t going to cede this market to Google either, as Apple spent $200 million to purchase the voice-centric personal assistant Siri. We’re hoping that this technology will be fully implemented in a future version of the iOS platform and it could make the iPhone a strong voice-powered device.
Microsoft is also pushing the voice powers of the Windows Phone 7 platform, which is powered by TellMe. There is also some innovation coming from the startup space, as the folks at Vlingo have done some very interesting things for multiple platforms.
We’re about to enter an era where “Can you hear me now?” will have an entirely different connotation.
[Via Google blog]