Google Cloud Speech and Siri voice APIs and the death of browsing as we know it

Mike Erlindson

Voice interaction applications have been around for a long time. The focus has always been on dictation, digital assistants or assistive technologies. Historically, you needed to install software on your computer such as Dragon Speech by Nuance, download a browser plugin or add an app to your mobile device.

Now the companies with the biggest to gain or lose are taking voice-to-text interaction to the next level. In March of this year Google opened up its Cloud Speech API for developers. This means developers can add voice interaction to Web applications without the user having to install software or plugins

This was originally seen as an attack on Nuance – the leader in voice-to-text interaction. But it’s not an attack on Nuance – it’s an attack on Apple’s Siri. When you use Siri you don’t see the Google search results page which is Google’s bread-and-butter for ads. You bypass it completely. Google needed a way to combat this problem.

Not to be outdone, Apple raised the stakes and opened the Siri API in June. In another flanking maneuver Apple is planning to add Siri to its OSX 10.12 release this fall. MacBook users won’t have to use a browser to access the Internet.

There are other players in this space and they’re who you’d expect. Microsoft has always opened the Cortana API to developers. Usage is tiny compared to Siri since it was originally part of the Windows Phone SDK however it should grow since it’s now part of Windows 10. Amazon has similarly opened up the Alexa Voice Service (AVS) API but consumer usage is restricted to Amazon hardware devices such as the Amazon Echo.

So what does this mean for you?

As people become more familiar with digital assistants on their mobile devices they expect the same level of convenience across all devices. Developers can now incorporate voice interaction into navigation systems, form inputs and report outputs. You’ll need less steps to get where you’re going and those steps will be simplified, automated and faster.

 

About The Author

Mike Erlindson is the President & CEO of Soulfx Technologies. He manages the design and development teams and has worked on hundreds of projects for clients in a wide range of industries. He previously worked at the Southam Infolab, Cyberplex and was Senior Producer of The Toronto Star Online.

He’s been both an Adjunct Professor at the University of Western Ontario and an Associate Professor at Centennial College teaching classes on User Experience Design and Client Service for Technology Consultants.

His entire career intersects content and technology. Always on the cutting edge, his masters degree research paper about online newspapers won the top award of his graduate school class.

Mike can be found at:

About Soulfx

Soulfx specializes in digital strategy, user experience design and cloud software development. Our software applications help clients become more efficient which increases revenue and decreases costs. Client industries include health sciences, pharmaceuticals, financial services, insurance, government and education. Contact Soulfx or call 1-877-827-4555 xt. 228