While the major operating systems of Android and iOS have had varying levels of voice command for quite some time, many apps have lagged behind with only written and visual inputs and outputs. But little by little all of that seems set to change as an increasing number of apps go hands-free. Last month, Google Maps finally launched its long overdue voice feature. This is especially helpful for drivers who can now find gas stations or change their routes while they are driving without having to pull over to type, or even worse, type and drive. And according to research, you are 23 times more likely to have an accident while texting, and texting while driving accounts for over 1,600,000 accidents per year in the US alone. Hopefully, the increasing move towards hands-free voice technology will help to reduce these awful statistics.
And it’s not just Google Maps that is changing the world with voice. Google’s Voice Access app allows users to completely control their phone with voice. Google has really jumped on the voice trend in a big way, and this technology, in particular, helps people with motor impairments navigate their touch screens. It still hasn’t officially released, so Google is still busy ironing out bugs, but it looks set to be a transformative technology for users who otherwise have difficulty manipulating touch screens and handheld devices.
And while Siri still runs the show on Apple, there are plenty of great Android alternatives out there. Voice assistants can really transform how you use your device, and once again, Google has a strong presence in this field with Google Now. It is reportedly one of the best voice assistants on the market and has a wide range of features and continuous updates from Google. Microsoft’s voice assistant is Cortana, another popular choice for Android users, which integrates well between PCs and handheld devices and can basically do anything a real assistant can do (ok, maybe not everything). And there are many more options out there.
All in all, voice technology is changing the way we do almost everything. In future, we may never even touch the devices we use, once everything is seamlessly activated across devices and platforms with easy-to-use voice commands. Voice activation is definitely the new wave of technology and has already been adopted and heavily invested in by all the tech giants. And, while voice accuracy is still never 100%, the stats are rapidly improving. In fact, Google, China-based Baidu, and startup Hound are already achieving around 90% accuracy. So if you haven’t started using voice, now is the time to transform the way you work and start to join the hands-free revolution.
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