Google’s new voice search ‘not your friend’

By Arturo Garcia
Wednesday, July 4, 2012 21:45 EDT
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Google logo on laptop via AFP
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A Google executive says the company’s latest operating system for its Android platform will feature “the very first high-quality, natural-sounding, conversational, synthesized voice in the entire world,” according to an interview with Wired Magazine.

Hugo Barra, Android’s director of product management, spoke to the magazine after unveiling the voice search program as part Android 4.1, aka Jelly Bean. It’s expected to go live later this month, even as its predecessor, Android 4.0 (“Ice Cream Sandwich”), is only available on about 7 percent of Android devices.

Barra said Jelly Bean’s text-to-speech engine will allow it to respond in the same voice regardless of the situation – and it’s a voice that’s strictly business, unlike Apple’s much-ballyhooed voice assistant, Siri.

“It’s very deliberately not making jokes with you,” Barra said. “Google is a neutral party — it’s not your friend, secretary or sister. It’s not your mom. It’s not your girlfriend or boyfriend. It is an information retrieval entity. You ask, we respond. And it’s very important that this entity be impartial, and adding jokes and other mannerisms to the voice would take away from that.”

Watch a comparison of Google’s voice search vs Siri, posted by The Huffington Post July 2, below:

[image via Agence France-Presse]

Arturo Garcia
Arturo Garcia
Arturo R. García is the managing editor at Racialicious.com. He is based in San Diego, California and has written for both print and broadcast media, including contributions to GlobalComment.com, The Root and Comment Is Free. Follow him on Twitter at @ABoyNamedArt
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