Google is making a big splash in the speech recognition market with its new announcement that it will open access to its speech recognition technology to third-party developers.
The access will come via the company’s new Google Cloud Speech API, and, at least at the outset, it’s going to be free. That could set the company directly in competition against other speech recognition specialists, and given the amount of R&D that Google has poured into its speech recognition technology — which is now available in more than 80 languages — it’s going to be quite a tough fight.
Smaller companies could still find an edge in voice recognition, since Google’s focus hasn’t been on the biometric side of voice technology; but speech recognition is likely to become a very big market as new devices in the Internet of Things opt for it as a convenient user interface.
For consumers, meanwhile, the move will likely mean more accurate and reliable voice interaction from a range of apps and products in the near term; and developers’ ability to leverage the technology in such a wide range of languages could mean that users for whom English is a second tongue won’t need to mimic northeastern American accents to get the technology to work properly. On the other hand, Google has a history of subsidizing its low-cost technology with user data mining, and the free offering may hint that users can’t expect their speech to remain entirely private when using these services.