speech recognition

Well it’s not Siri obviously, but Copy This offers a very interesting speech-to-text functionality for Windows Phone 8 devices. It’s been in the Store since a while, but we recently discovered it or found a mention somewhere.

The app allows you to quickly speak text directly to the clipboard on your phone. You can launch the app from anywhere on your phone with your voice. Once the app is launched, you can say any text you want and your words will be copied to the clipboard. 

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Voice Butler is a fairly simple voice command app for your Windows Phone that will help you do a wide range of tasks that includes checking the weather and set alarms. It'll even let you take a photo using a self-timer.

The app itself is more or less a help directory and on/off switches for alarms and timers you set. While there's not much window dressing for Voice Butler it does have a healthy range of voice commands that can be initiated with or without the app open.

If you're looking for a voice command app for your Windows Phone 8 device, Voice Butler is one to consider.

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For a long time, Windows Phone users have speculated about the possibility of a Tablet based on the OS. It never happened, but even now, I’m left wondering if Windows Phone is the more capable and desirable portable computing experience.

Microsoft are on the cusp of releasing Windows 8 and with it we see the software giant plunging head first into the world of true mobile computing. They have dug in deep and hammered away at the core of Windows to enable new, mobile orientated computing experiences. At the same time we also have Windows Phone 8 getting ready for primetime. Windows Phone is now reaching its first major upgrade, and it's about to fully mature.

Given the right form factor it's an OS that could work better as a tablet than Windows 8, and here is why...

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Ask Ziggy update now live on the Marketplace

We recently covered a neat little Windows Phone app that rivals Apple's Siri. Ask Ziggy is a completely free (ad-free too) speech recognition app, which goes one step further than Windows Phone itself. Mathematical questions, commands (posting to Twitter, Facebook, calling a contact, etc.), general questions are just a few tasks that can be completed. While the app was already available (and has been since mid-December) a recent update has been pushed through that brings a few fixes an a UI refresh.

There are a number of features that the developer has planned for the future, including expanded speech grammar, multi-language support and language translations. Should you be continuously finding yourself having to watch a Siri demonstration, now you can fight back with this little beauty. You can download Ask Ziggy from the Marketplace for free. Be sure to keep an eye on the official website for more information.

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If there was an over-hyped technology in late 2011 it was perhaps Apple's Siritheir voice recognition/information application for the iPhone 4s. Now we'll admit that Siri is quite a strong piece of tech one that we wish Windows Phone had built-in in addition to our Bing Voice service, but the marketing machine behind Siri was a tad overwhelming. Then again, there's no denying facts: Bing Voice while pragmatic for certain tasks is still behind Apple's Siri in some ways.

However, developer Shai Leib has given us Windows Phone users an option: Ask Ziggy. The new app is a free, ad-free and as far as we can tell, completely unique. We spoke with Leib about his project and how it works:

"Ask Ziggy uses Speech Recognition to translate human speech into transcribed text, which is displayed in a speech bubble. The transcribed text is analyzed for patterns to detect commands or general queries. Commands are interpreted and routed to routine phone tasks such as emailing, texting, calling, social network updates, and getting directions.

When a general question is asked, a mixture of mash up technologies and web scraping is employed to search the web for relevant responses. Pattern matching is used to summarize a direct answer from a web page. Several passes may be required to find a concise answer. A direct answer is then spoken out loud, and displayed in a speech bubble. When a direct answer cannot be summarized the user is prompted by speech to click on their search bubble to see web search results based on their spoken query."

That's some pretty impressive work for a single developer if you ask us. The actual voice-recognition software is based on Nuance but the data fetching and matching are all his doing. And it works. That's one thing we want to stress here, we didn't find this app gimmicky at all but instead quite useful for mathematical questions, random trivia, posting to our Twitter/Facebook/Live, getting directions, flight status and more. Having the phone read back to you the answer in a clean, minimalist setting makes it feel smart. Heck, it even got our Monty Python question right (see YouTube video).

The version you see in the video is heading to the Marketplace as we speak but you can grab the slightly older version right now. Give it a go--it's free, useful and really quite an extraordinary app. Leib also has a lot of plans to further refine and enhance the experience including expanded speech grammar, multi-language support and even language translations. Check out the Ask Ziggy website here for more info.

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Bing search and speak recognition [How To]

We've looked at Local Scout among other improvements brought to the user in Windows Phone Mango, but nothing beats a British walk through of how to search, use Bing services and the speech recognition. Take a quick look at the above video for a brief overlook in what's new with the search functionality in Windows Phone, while the below how to takes us through running commands with voice in favour of touch.

More information can be found at the Windows Phone UK blog, link below.

Source: MykindofPhone

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TellMe used to be a separate company specializing in voice recognition technology, until Microsoft swooped in, bought and merged them with their own exiting voice research team in early 2009. Flash forward a few months and we finally saw the first iterations of TellMe on the Samsung Intrepid in October 2009, giving us an idea of what to expect from the future partnership.

Mango will be improving the user experience with the option to use speech for text input with SMS conversation. More control will be at hand with replying, having messages read out loud and more (see our video demo with Bing services here).

But the big question is: Will Windows Phone developers ever have access to these tools? As of now, the answer is 'no' but Microsoft is starting to budge on the issue and they look like they will be opening up their TellMe voice services for WP7 developers. No timeline is given, but they are now registering developer interest via a list. So to all devs: go voice your opinion on the matter and hopefully Microsoft will movea a bit faster.

Head here, near the bottom, to register your interest: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/Tellme/developers/

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This will be a life saver -- literally -- for folks who use their handsets while on the go (driving etc.) and have Bluetooth headsets on. Mango will be taking speech recognition beyond simple app opening commands. Should you receive an SMS, the phone will announce via speech stating who the text is from and ask if you would like to hear it. You will then (should you choose to say so) be listening to the message your contact sent you.

Not only do we have text to voice, but we have voice to text. Should you say "reply" once the phone has completed reading you the message, you can then record your reply and it will preview what you've said. On confirmation the text will be sent to the recipient. All hands-free.

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