GOOGLE is offering Voice Search in Bahasa Malaysia to help smartphone users search online faster. Suited for multiple platforms including Android 2.1 and 2.2, iPhone and BlackBerry, the free service is designed to help users search for items online, simply by speaking instead of typing their queries.
Be it photos, news, articles, websites or maps, Google Voice Search relies on its cloud-based database of voice samples of written and spoken Bahasa Malaysia to deliver results that are most relevant to the users. Powered by Google’s own speech recognition technology, Voice Search also filters background noise to identify words or phrases before producing results to its user, says Google Malaysia country consultant Hanson Toh.
The Bahasa Malaysia version took eight months to developed, says Toh. He adds that the service also relies on user input to update and improve accuracy of its cloud-based voice sample database. The service also recognises slang, local terms and even accents.
Andrew McGlinchey, product manager of Google Southeast Asia, notes that Bahasa Malaysia is one of the earliest on Google’s list for Voice Search localisation as the mobile penetration in Malaysia is at 108 per cent or 31.5 million subscribers. “There are more phones here than there are people, and many are searching on the Internet on their mobile phones. So, we want to make sure that all of our services work well on the mobile phone,” says McGlinchey.
He adds that unlike accessing the Internet via web browsers on desktops and notebooks, mobile phones bring about a different Internet browsing experience. “Phones now come with GPS to tell you your location, eyes in the shape of camera and ears in the form of speakers.”
So the Google Voice Search service leverages on these features to bring a faster and a more natural way of searching and web browsing.
The service is capable of handling longer queries and you do not even need to know the spelling of each word. For example, if you happen to hear a song and want to know who’s the singer and the name of the track, try singing part of the chorus into your smartphone speakers and see if Voice Search can give you the information.
McGlinchey says: “The service will keep listening till you stop. It may not be 100 per cent accurate, but it will show you suggestions so that you can get the most relevant results.”
Voice Search can also be used with Google Maps to search for locations. Voice Search Bahasa Malaysia edition is hosted at m.google.com.my/Voicesearch.