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Pixel users get offline voice recognition with Gboard

Google has used its AI expertise to bring offline speech recognition to Gboard on Pixel devices. (Source: Google)
Google has used its AI expertise to bring offline speech recognition to Gboard on Pixel devices. (Source: Google)
Google has quietly launched a breakthrough on real-time voice recognition technology via its AI blog. Using AI technology and tapping into the neural processing capabilities of its Pixel phones, Gboard users can now offline real-time speech recognition.

Google has crested something of a summit in voice recognition processing on board smartphones. Until now, if you have been using Google’s Gboard on a Pixel device, real-time voice processing for spoken to written text translation required off-board processing with either a Wi-Fi or cellular data connection for processing. Google has announced that since it first introduced neural learning to process a human voice, it has continued to develop the software architecture to the point where it can work entirely offline using the neural processing capabilities of its Pixel devices to work.

Its new recurrent neural networks transducer (RNN-T) model has been made compact enough that it can reside completely on a phone removing network latency and patchy connections as a impediments to using the technology anytime. It works in real-time outputting word letter-by-letter, just as though someone was typing out what you say as you say it. Google has been able to achieve this by trimming down the data processing requirements from 2 GB, which required a wireless connection for off-boar processing, to just 80 MB so that it can be handled on board.

Although initially on available for Gboard users with Pixel devices and using American English only, Google hopes that the research techniques that it has developed will be adopted for use in more languages and more devices and for use in other contexts as well.

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Sanjiv Sathiah, 2019-03-13 (Update: 2019-03-13)
Sanjiv Sathiah
Sanjiv Sathiah - News Editor
I have been tech-obsessed from the time my father introduced me to my first computer, an Apple ][. Since then, I have been particularly interested in all things Apple, but also enjoy exploring and experimenting with any computing platform that I can get my hands on – I am the definitive early adopter! I have always been interested in how we can use technology to shape and improve our lives, most recently using it to record, mix and master my debut record, Acuity – Nature | Nurture.