Facebook Messenger App Being Tested With New Voice-to-text Feature
Following the acquisition of the Wit.ai startup which developed new software which can convert the spoken word into a programmatic structured using JSON that other apps can better understand using a supplied API, Facebook is adding a speech recognition facility to an upcoming new version of their popular Facebook Messenger app. This information was confirmed by David Marcus, the vice president of messaging products for Facebook at the Digital Life Design Conference in Munich, Germany recently.
Whilst the likes of Google with Google now, Apple with Siri and Microsoft with Cortana have been quick to get into voice recognition to perform human-spoken searches to help internet users find what they are looking for, the social media networks have so far lagged behind this voice to text effort. This is not likely to remain the case in 2015 as Facebook moves ahead with integrating natural language recognition into their primary messaging app.
Facebook Previously Split Out Messenger from Primary App
Facebook made a decision a few months ago to split out the main Facebook app from the Facebook Messaging facility in order to provide more separation with the messaging facility. Other features like payment processing are expected to be added in due course to enable money to be exchanged between people connected via the Facebook Messenger chat client.
The social media company will also be painfully aware that Google will soon be stalking them even more with the development of the Google Messenger app following their failed attempt to acquire WhatsApp which Facebook snapped up.
There are currently no known plans to add natural language recognition to the WhatsApp messaging or Instagram photo sharing apps which are both owned by Facebook.
Benefits of Natural Language With Texting
Depending on the spoken language used, the benefits of talking to a mobile device to dictate a message to someone can be a real time-saver. This will be especially true for people trying to hunt and peck their way through a reply on an economy-sized smart phone. In other cases, some foreign languages can be overly complex which can make quick texting more difficult than when being able to talk and dictate the message to send.
On the flip side, just like with the typical word-correcting keyboard which manages to occasionally pick the wrong word and completely change the meaning of a message to someone important which can cause unintended problems for people, the spoken word may be misunderstood more often than not in loud environments. So it will be essential with any voice-ready messaging apps to read back the computer-transcribed message carefully before hitting the Send button.