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Google Voice Search May be Coming Soon

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the nothing-like-idle-speculation dept.

109

vitaly.friedman writes "The master of text-based search could be looking to lend a voice to Internet users everywhere, or so it appears based on Google's latest patent. Patent #7,027,987, issued today by the US Patent and Trademark Office, covers a 'Voice interface for a search engine.'"

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Perhaps? (-1, Offtopic)

Ironix (165274) | more than 8 years ago | (#15112518)

1st post?

Perhaps not what people first guess... (3, Interesting)

sreekotay (955693) | more than 8 years ago | (#15112585)

My first read (after reading the ARTICLE :P) is that this isn't voice recognition - its the old "wisdom of croweds" thing.

I always found Google's "Did you mean ____?" to be better than any spell checker (pretty sure its a distance metric thing based on LOTS of mistyped input and follow-up for real users) - don't see a reason why that couldn't apply to voice...

(non-trivially, probably, but still)
--
graphicallyspeaking [kotay.com]

Re:Perhaps not what people first guess... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15112625)

And you felt you had to post this exact same message to two separate threads why exactly? Oh - you felt it was really relevant to the PP here, right?

Karma whores give me the shits.

Re:Perhaps not what people first guess... (0)

sreekotay (955693) | more than 8 years ago | (#15112744)

lol - uh, yeah, don't get TOO serious about slashdot etiquette or anything... perhaps you could translate my offense into bandwidth wasted X degrees of separation?

(I didn't realize where my first post went - my bad - patience isn't a virtue I've mastered - apologies)
--
graphicallyspeaking [kotay.com]

Re:Perhaps not what people first guess... (1)

the_Bionic_lemming (446569) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113255)

don't see a reason why that couldn't apply to voice...

off the top of my head? Accents.

Listen to a "Yooper" argue with a "Good ole Boy" some day. Get a "Bronxer" in there and ask em to discuss relativity.

WTF? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15112527)

lend a lend a voice?

Do Slashdot editors submit stories with voice recognition software?

Revenge of the Nerds (2, Funny)

aplusjimages (939458) | more than 8 years ago | (#15112903)

I think they meant Lamda Lamda Lamda. What a great movie.

Step 2 found! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15112530)

i) Take two existing technologies, such as voice recognition and search engines.
ii) Put the two together and patent the result.
iii) Profit!

Re:Step 2 found! (1, Insightful)

afaik_ianal (918433) | more than 8 years ago | (#15112566)

Yeah, because combining 2 technologies is never novel...

How about:
  • Sliced bread/heating elements - this turned out to be one of the best inventions since, well... never mind
  • radio waves and telephones - both quite old technologies, but where would we be without them combined?

In general, I think it's customary to at least look at a patent before commenting on its novelty. If you had, you may find that the patent goes a little further than just saying "take search, and add voice recognition". Oh wait - what site am I on again?

Re:Step 2 found! (1)

ThinkingInBinary (899485) | more than 8 years ago | (#15112643)

If you had, you may find that the patent goes a little further than just saying "take search, and add voice recognition". Oh wait - what site am I on again?

Yes, it does. It takes the probabilities that the voice recognition system outputs for various phrases (if you say "free ipod" it might recognize "free ipod" with a 90% chance and "free eye pod" with a 10% chance, since it's never totally sure what you said) and feeds them into the search engine as weights. Basically, it does use more useful information than just searching for the most likely phrase. I don't know if this would in fact help search results, since I would guess most people would prefer having to occasionally reissue a misrecognized query to having a certain percentage of their results be from a misrecognized query each time. We'll see.

That's the job of the Speech recognition system. (1)

hackwrench (573697) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113905)

People keep complaining to me how I want to do the job of the compiler, but getting the right phrase is the job of the speech recognition system, not the search engine, though I suppose the compiler is better at it's job than the speech recognition engine. Even so, I'd want to correct the speech recognition system for guessing wrong before I passed it on to the search engine, but such tools are poor, possibly for similar reasons people don't want to second guess the compiler.

No, I didn't say "Tonight to be sent him" I said "Sailing to Byzantium". Now, we're going to train on this phrase until you consistently get it right.

If I meant "free eye pod instead of "free iPod" I would have drawn out the eye and had a pause between eye and pod. Now if you used the canned results of a search engine to give the speech recognition engine a heads up as to how phrases are used, that's a whole different kettle of fish. Perhaps some variation "desktop search" should be used to tell the search engine how the user uses phrases, though currently "desktop search" doesn't distinguish between who wrote what.

Re:Step 2 found! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15112818)

The thing is that when you combine two different things that already exist, it's most likely already been done before. How many people toasted bread on pans or griddles centuries ago? French toast has existed since at least the 1700's, and I suspect that someone tried it with plain bread at least once before throwing eggs at it. Aside from the "discovery" of toast, the "waffle iron" predates the electric toaster when it comes to heating something from both sides (the 'dutch oven' predates that, and burying your food in coals predates that...). So now, your electric toaster is really a combination of centuries old bread plus a centuries old way of cooking plus resistive electric heating elements, which was probably already being used to cook things by the time you got there (which came first, the toaster or the electric range?)

So now, if this patent really is just "searching google by voice" how does this differ from a handicapped person using naturally speaking to have google read to him and his voice converted to text to search for? (Clearly, there is space to innovate here, the patent in question uses google's immense index to guesstimate which of the possible sets of phrases you might have actually said, based on the number of hits for each)

Ballmer reply... (1)

alexandreracine (859693) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113848)

Here is what I overheard at MS. "That was OUR idear! I'll FUCKING KILL THEM!" -Ballmer 2006

Coming Soon? (5, Insightful)

afaik_ianal (918433) | more than 8 years ago | (#15112532)

I'd say that if Google had any serious plans to do anything with this, then we would have heard something about it already (something more than a paper written 4 years ago). Although the patent was only just issued today, it was filed over 5 years ago.

It seems like a pretty big logical leap to say that it is "coming soon" based on the fact that the USPTO finally got their butts into gear.

It's probably just an idea they though was cool at the time, and should be patented in case they want to use it some time.

Re:Coming Soon? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15112564)

And it's coming on the heels of an article telling us that patents don't really mean much...(especially patents as broad as "voice interface for a search engine") This doesn't point to any new direction for google, they are just protecting possibilities.

Re:Coming Soon? (1)

arivanov (12034) | more than 8 years ago | (#15112586)

I would not be so sure. We are just about coming to the time where advertisement and placement revenue can recoup costs of mobile data (or SMS). Similarly, VOIP has been driving costs of voice into the ground. They are nearly there where you would like a transport for search to be.

It is quite possible that we will hear more about this one.

Re:Coming Soon? (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 8 years ago | (#15112613)

How could voice-activated search ever be patented? There's already the prior art of simply using stand-alone speech recognition software to "type" words in a search-engine.

Perhaps they're using some kind of soundex (phonetic codification) way to implement this? That might be nice if you know what something sounds like but don't know how to spell it; i.e. the lyrics to a song or a person or company name.

I hereby submit above idea to the public domain if it isn't patented yet ;)

Re:Coming Soon? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15113017)

then we would have heard something about it already
 
I did hear about this a long time ago, several years ago on http://labs.google.com/ [google.com] they had voice activated searchs. It was done in a not so useful way though, more as just a tech demo, but it was neat. You had to phone Google and than say a keyword at the prompt, you than refreshed your Google voice search page and you google results were there, you had to refresh the page within ten seconds or so or it would be the next persons search. nice toy and tech demo, but useless as a way to browse. imagine high traffic on your site and sitting there listening to "the search you are waiting for is not available, please stay on hold, your search is important to us".
 
i imagined that it was just a demo, and that the more useful application of it would be voice generated searches of local company databases or Intranets for people who already had there hands full. Cisco used to show off voice searches on their IP phones with the example of a Doctor operating but still able to get test results from his phone while operating on the guy.

Re:Coming Soon? (1)

Bandman (86149) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113658)

I'd say more like ad sense for Google Talk, but that's just my take on it.

Not useful for me... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15112535)

I doubt speaking the word "sex" to my pc at work will get me a raise anytime soon... I'll stick with traditional methods of finding my porn... =)

mmmmm, pr0n (1)

deevnil (966765) | more than 8 years ago | (#15112796)

gives me a raise just thinking about it

Re:mmmmm, pr0n (0)

Fanboy Troy (957025) | more than 8 years ago | (#15112829)

mmmmm, pr0n

I wonder how pr0n is pronounced... Hmmmm.... 8)

Re:mmmmm, pr0n (1)

BVis (267028) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113211)

AFAIK think "prawn" with less of the W sound.

Not necessarily voice search (2, Insightful)

Crayon Kid (700279) | more than 8 years ago | (#15112536)

It can be interpreted either way. Either a search engine for audio files with speech recognition, which could be used to index podcasts and news streams; or a voice-driven interface instead of a visual one. Now which is it?

Re:Not necessarily voice search (1)

neoform (551705) | more than 8 years ago | (#15112581)

Given the current quality of Speech Regocnition, I wouldn't count on any "voice search" to be usefull in the slightest.. Good speech recognition is still decades away.

Re:Not necessarily voice search (1)

afaik_ianal (918433) | more than 8 years ago | (#15112610)

I wouldn't count on any "voice search" to be usefull in the slightest.

But that's what's novel about this patent. It doesn't just run voice recognition and put a resulting string into the normal google search.

It generates a weighted list of things that you *might* have said, looks them all up, revises the weights based on the results, and returns all the results, using the weights to help order them.

Re:Not necessarily voice search (1)

KylePflug (898555) | more than 8 years ago | (#15112633)

When was the last time you tried? A well-trained speech recognition program can provide about 95% accuracy in a controlled environment. Sure, it gets harder with punctuation, but a well-designed system ought to have at least some functional utility in the "finding results in the wild" arena. Audio indexing is not just something Google's doing. Microsoft OneNote 2007, for example, indexes audio (and all handwritten content, as well as OCR on all images) and makes it searchable. There is a great deal of utility here; I'm running the beta and searching my handwriting (I'm on a Tablet PC) and scanned documents alongside my typed notes is already helpful. Since I make a habit of recording lectures, I can imagine that it will be helpful in that arena too -- probably not in 2007, but "decades" is definately an overstatement. I think you underestimate what can be done with Speech Recognition. If a desktop can do it on-the-fly with relative accuracy, Google ought to be able to do it remotely nearly as well, even without training; after all, they have all the context-awareness they've developed for Adsense on their side.

Re:Not necessarily voice search (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15112682)

Part of that "controlled environment" is a limit on the possibilities. Phone systems generally only have to deal with numbers, yes, no, and help.

Google's plan appears to be to listen to some text, then google what it thinks it heard itself. Whichever gets the most hits (paying attention to 'did you mean ...') wins. In this way they can self-train a speech recognition system.

Now, whether this is actually worthy of a patent or not (what if I use naturally speaking to talk into google and have it search for whatever NS thinks I had said?)...

Re:Not necessarily voice search (2, Informative)

afaik_ianal (918433) | more than 8 years ago | (#15112596)

Now which is it?

If you had bothered to RTFP, you'd know :P. The patent doesn't explicitly say what type of data you are searching - it just says that it generates a list of weighted hypothesis for what the searcher may have said (i.e. a bunch of text strings with probabilities attached), and forwards them on to a (text-based) search engine.

I'd say they are intending for this to interface with any of the existing google searches (web, images, news, etc). Your idea of searching audio, while interesting, would be completely separate to this patent - if you could generate text indices for the audio files (voice recognition on the audio files), then you could apply this patent.

This patent certainly makes no attempt to provide audio files in the results based on sounds that are similar to the user's audio request.

Not necessarily voice RECOGNITION (1)

sreekotay (955693) | more than 8 years ago | (#15112604)

Perhaps its the old "wisdom of croweds" thing, ala Google's "Did you mean ____?"

That almost always crushes standard spell checker results (pretty sure its heavily augmented with some kind of distance metric thing based on LOTS of mistyped input and follow-up for real users) - don't see a reason why that couldn't apply to voice search...

(non-trivially, probably, but still)
--
graphicallyspeaking [kotay.com]

Re:Not necessarily voice search (1)

rbarreira (836272) | more than 8 years ago | (#15112619)

Didn't you RTFS properly?

covers a 'Voice interface for a search engine.'

Re:Not necessarily voice search (1)

iwsnet (946715) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113560)

They could use a VOIP phone service where you would call an operator like 411 and ask for assistance in finding something online.

Google Voice Search (3, Informative)

tehshen (794722) | more than 8 years ago | (#15112540)

Haven't they already done a thing like this [google.com] before? Maybe they've only just patented it. Either way I don't see a story here.

Re:Google Voice Search (1)

Whafro (193881) | more than 8 years ago | (#15112570)

Remember that patents take years to issue. This one was filed in 2001, and just issued now, more than five years later.

That said, I'm sure it does relate to the parent's link, and Google decided that, at the moment, there's not much of a market for search results via telephone. Not that they can't apply it in other ways now that VOIP is becoming more of a reality.

Re:Google Voice Search (1)

Orodreth (679524) | more than 8 years ago | (#15112741)

Now if they would only take the Google voice search and apply it to audio mining [google.com] , it'd be more than just a neat gimmick...

Re:Google Voice Search (1)

tunmire (841044) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113384)

It's two bits not a quarter in the joke. It dosen't make since the way you wrote it.

Yay, more patents :-( (-1, Flamebait)

Bromskloss (750445) | more than 8 years ago | (#15112543)

Do no evil, huh?

Re:Yay, more patents :-( (1)

Solra Bizna (716281) | more than 8 years ago | (#15112561)

If they don't patent it, somebody else will!

-:sigma.SB

Re:Yay, more patents :-( (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15112871)

"If they don't patent it, somebody else will!"

And if I don't throw a punch at someone, they'll do it first... nice mentality

Re:Yay, more patents :-( (1)

gcw1 (914577) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113068)

These days it seems that legitimate companies need to apply for patents in order to cover thier asses... Either that or purchace a licence for the technology from useless patent holding companies like NTP to avoid getting sued.

Supporting vague patents supports terrorism (2, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 8 years ago | (#15112544)

Economic terrorism, that is.

Do they mean that they patented using voice recognition software to work with the Search textbox? Is this some sort of technology to take voice waveforms into the search engine and form audio search patterns? Is this about taking a media clip and finding the source media?

What? It's so vague.

Re:Supporting vague patents supports terrorism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15112659)

Do they mean that they patented using voice recognition software to work with the Search textbox?

You could always, oh, I don't know... look at the patent and find out? No, they did not patent what you are suggesting.

Insightful?

Re:Supporting vague patents supports terrorism (0)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 8 years ago | (#15112831)

Ah, good old /.

Why bother understanding the article when you can just whore for anti-IP karma?

Coming soon... or already happened? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15112545)

From May 2002:

http://labs1.google.com/gvs.html [google.com]

Google voice has been and gone from the Labs pages; make a phonecall, get some results. I think from that it's a no-brainer that it's coming eventually... did we really need a patent as confirmation?

Make sure you don't say "hello" to it (2, Funny)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 8 years ago | (#15112546)

Especially from the image search page.

You have been warned.

Re:Make sure you don't say "hello" to it (1)

Khuffie (818093) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113683)

am I missing something? I typed hello in image search, and i get nothing interesting aside from an angry looking cat...

Re:Make sure you don't say "hello" to it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15114000)

it's a goatse joke.. "hello.jpg"

Expletives (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15112547)

"'Voice interface for a search engine.'""

Great! You get to curse at your search engine.

Voice Matching (5, Interesting)

UnseenLlama (967777) | more than 8 years ago | (#15112551)

Great! Now the government will be able to not only track my search results...but also attach my voice to it! Not that I'm scared or anything...

Re:Voice Matching (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15112800)

No, this is really easy to avoid. You can just type in what it is that you want to search for and use text-to-speech software to speak it for you.

This has been in "beta" / "alpha for a while now? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15112555)

I remember that Google had a link that you could dial in and give it a search term. You would then go to their "voice results" page and see what it turned up. I assume that the patent is based on this? I haven't looked at it in a few years and I don't even know if the page is still there, but this really isn't anything new, just that the patent was now granted.

Search on Google by voice with a simple telephone (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15112556)

Patent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15112560)

In other news:

Patent #193983891 prevents competitors from using fonts to display text on a search engine

Privacy Issues (2, Funny)

RootsLINUX (854452) | more than 8 years ago | (#15112575)

In the library...

Google Voice: Please state what it is that you would like to search for.
MAN (whispering): .....porn
GV: I'm sorry, I did not understand you. Please state your search item again.
MAN (whispering): ...porn
GV: I'm sorry, I did not understand you. Please state your search item again.
MAN (whispering): porn
GV: I'm sorry, I did not understand you. Please state your search item again.
MAN (shouting): PORN! I want to search for PORN you stupid ass computer!
(stares from every person in the vicinity)
GV: ...Search item confirmed. Commencing search for "porn".

Just think of all the entertaining stories that wide-spread voice recognition will bring us ^_~

Re:Privacy Issues (1)

ZenKen (963177) | more than 8 years ago | (#15112603)

I hope it works better than my cellphone search.

"Call Mom"

"Call Tom?"

"No. Call Mom."

"Call Rob?"

"No. CAHLL, MAAHM."

"Call Craig?"

"What? No. I'll do it myself, you stupid useless feature."

Re:Privacy Issues (1)

Bromskloss (750445) | more than 8 years ago | (#15112636)

My cell phone can set up a conference call between me and all persons in South Africa whose names start with "J", using whatever directories of phone numbers is possible to connect to from where I'm standing for the moment.

Me: Call mom.
Phone: Set up a conference call between you and all persons in South Africa whose names start with "J", using whatever directories of phone numbers is possible to connect to from where you're standing for the moment?

So far, this is unfortunately all I have gotten it to do.

Re:Privacy Issues (1)

Bromskloss (750445) | more than 8 years ago | (#15112606)

Google Voice: Please state what it is that you would like to search for.
MAN (whispering): .....porn
GV: I'm sorry, I did not understand you. Please state your search item again.
MAN (whispering): ...porn
GV: I'm sorry, I did not understand you. Please state your search item again.
MAN (whispering): porn
GV: I'm sorry, I did not understand you. Please state your search item again.
MAN (shouting): PORN! I want to search for PORN you stupid ass computer!
(stares from every person in the vicinity)
Better yet:
Google Voice: Please state what it is that you would like to search for.
MAN (whispering): .....porn
GV: (also whispering) I'm sorry, I'm not sure I heard you. Did you say "porn"?
MAN (whispering): Yes.
GV: (pushing the speakers to their limit): OH, YOU WANT TO SEARCH FOR PORN, AHA!
(stares from every person in the vicinity)

Re:Privacy Issues (1)

RootsLINUX (854452) | more than 8 years ago | (#15112629)

Actually an old friend of mine who went to a community college in Phoenix once told my friends and I something interesting. If you're on the campus computers ther and it determines that you are looking at porn, it will play the following (loud) message on the computer's speakers:

Woohoo! I'm looking at PORN! Yeah, alright! This is great!
Or something like that anyway. I'm still not sure if I really believe that though. It seems highly unprofessional for a college to do.

Re:Privacy Issues (1)

JollyFinn (267972) | more than 8 years ago | (#15112714)

Actually an old friend of mine who went to a community college in Phoenix once told my friends and I something interesting. If you're on the campus computers ther and it determines that you are looking at porn, it will play the following (loud) message on the computer's speakers:

Woohoo! I'm looking at PORN! Yeah, alright! This is great!

I'm just curious. If someone used ssh or remote desktop to connect the machine, and watch porn in the web-browser on that machine, would it be detected, and which speakers would output the message? The guys workstation where he watches it or the poor girls workstations who just happens to sit in front of computer where you have logged in remotely.

Re:Privacy Issues (1, Funny)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 8 years ago | (#15112631)

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Hermaphroditic emoticon? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15112731)

Please, parent, please tell me those three characters at the end of your post meant something else.

  ANYTHINGelse...

Let me guess... (1)

kurbchekt (890891) | more than 8 years ago | (#15112642)

Is it called Opera? [opera.com]

Opera has built in voice recognition already, so could someone clairify the point of building this into a search engine?

"My Voice is My Passport, Verify Me..."

Re:Let me guess... (1)

Bromskloss (750445) | more than 8 years ago | (#15112663)

"My Voice is My Passport, Verify Me..."
My voice is my passport. Record it.

Another garbage patent... (1)

slavemowgli (585321) | more than 8 years ago | (#15112655)

Wow, yet another garbage patent that does nothing except combine two existing things (search engines and voice-controlled software). Is there anyone in the world who seriously believes that without giving Google a 20-year monopoly on this, nobody would've thought of this?

Re:Another garbage patent... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15112688)

Wow, yet another garbage post that does nothing except promote misinformation (the idea that this is just a voice recognition front end to the normal search box). Is there anyone in the world who actually reads patents before commenting on them?

Re:Another garbage patent... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15112791)

No, because to read them would be to open yourself up to triple damages for wilful infringement. If you don't read it, there's a chance you came up with a method yourself. As I'm not in the USA, I read it: and let me tell you - strip away the obscure patentese, and this is (a) bloody obvious and (b) a patent consisting mostly of statement of the problem such that almost any conceivable solution would infringe.

DON'T READ THE FOLLOWING IF YOU'RE IN THE USA:

it waffles on about assigning weights to terms in a boolean query as if that's some amazing new idea, not just a random take on pre-AI-Winter certainty factors etc.), yet doesn't disclose the only potentially remotely non-obvious bit, how the sound samples are automatically translated into a textual description well (it's pretty trivial to do it badly) - in fact the patent even claims to cover manual translation, like a bank of immigrant workers typing what they hear.

Basically, they've got a patent meaning that anyone who does the hard bit (makes voice->text work well) can't use pretty conventional search weighting techniques on the output of their spiffy voice->text (i.e. the easy bit).

Google are potentially very evil, it's time for the fanbois to accept that. Remains to be seen whether they'll enforce this patent against anyone, or whether they just got it to prevent being held hostage by a patent troll, but as a software engineer and computer scientist, as far as I'm concerned this patent should never have been granted.

Search: tea, Earl Grey, hot... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15112671)

...they'd better have tea on this stinkin' planet.

Feb 2001 (1)

thebdj (768618) | more than 8 years ago | (#15112684)

That is when this was applied for. Since we haven't seen it yet, I would not put a lot of hope (or concern?) into this showing up anytime soon.

Laryngitis? (0)

butterwise (862336) | more than 8 years ago | (#15112699)

This will be perfect for when you lose your voice... *ducks*

Three Wise Monkeys (2, Funny)

ettlz (639203) | more than 8 years ago | (#15112701)

MEMO: Google morality checklist
  1. See no evil. Check, moderate SafeSearch is on.
  2. Hear no evil. We're still coding the filter, but so far we've managed to eliminate "cocksucker" from the recognition patterns.
  3. Do no evil.

Prior art from the handicapped ? (2, Interesting)

MajorDick (735308) | more than 8 years ago | (#15112715)

I know of 2 people that have been searching the internet from voic command for over 6 years now.

Is this prior art ?
Google is OBVIOUSLY not the first to do it or even think of it.
I can show you a half dozen Sc-Fi episode that have touched on this as well.
How can you patent a communication medium's use ????

Re:Prior art from the handicapped ? (1)

Milton Waddams (739213) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113032)

Yeah, from having studied both speech processing and information retrieval in my degree, I know that this idea is by no means a novel one. How the fuck could this patent have been granted? I'm flabbergasted!

I can't wait.. (2, Interesting)

William Robinson (875390) | more than 8 years ago | (#15112777)

My boss always uses words like 'shit', 'hell', 'sucks', 'piecce of shit', 'fsck' and so on..

I can't wait to see his face when google toolbar will start throwing pages at him.

European Quaero. (3, Interesting)

magli (777787) | more than 8 years ago | (#15112803)

I was almost sure that I had read something about a EC funded "google-killer" search engine being developed in europe, which planned to do this. Sure enough:

Attack of the Eurogoogle [economist.com] (Need subscription).
No subscription needed here [eiu.com]
From the article:
researchers at the University of Karlsruhe are developing Quaero's voice-recognition and translation technology, with funding from the European Commission. [...] In addition, speaker-identification software will allow users (via computer microphones) to search the internet for audio clips recorded in their own voices, or those of other speakers.

Prior art (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 8 years ago | (#15112834)

The disabled have been using voice-interface software for years. I might still have an old copy of Voicetype shovelware that came with a Pentium PC in 1995.

And for a search-engine-specific prior usage, in my area calling directory assistance has been largely automated using voice-recognition software, as have many coprorate phone systems.

Like Star Trek, Computer... Find me a _____ (1)

csorice7 (913655) | more than 8 years ago | (#15112837)

In looking at the description and the claims a bit, this is primarily an extension of their search interface. From the patent's description:

"...a method that provides search results includes receiving a voice search query from a user; deriving one or more recognition hypotheses from the voice search query, each recognition hypothesis being associated with a weight; constructing a weighted boolean query using the recognition hypotheses; providing the weighted boolean query to a search system; and providing results of the search system."

I can see how Google would want to use some form of voice recognition, defined as the 'shortest recognition hypothesis' or a combination of them, to convert it into text thereby using a search engine. Claim 20 could be read to mean a voice command converted to text for a computer readable 'search query' which is bound by the steps in the claim.

They're probably not going to own the idea of computer used voice generated searches, but they're seemingly moving to own voice command into Google searches as an added feature. Only as interesting as the voice recognition behind it...

CSorice

what is the difference (1)

MORTAR_COMBAT! (589963) | more than 8 years ago | (#15112845)

between "a voice interface for a search engine" and a "generic computer voice interface program"? moreover, what is the difference between a "generic computer voice interface program" and a "generic computer interface program"? further, what is the difference between a "generic computer interface program" and a "generic computer program"? between a "generic computer program" and a programming language?

perhaps the only patentable thing in software might be breakthroughs in compiler theory or instruction sets, etc., because once you have a programming language, everything constructed from it could be produced by enough monkeys with typewriters, likely not even infinite. combinations (mash-ups) as patents? please, please no...

Google Pronounce - not just vox searches (1)

murderlegendre (776042) | more than 8 years ago | (#15112862)

Now here's a thought - what if Goog were to implement their existing "Did you mean _____?" search suggestions with a voice-based system?

You speak "find Ly-nux!" - it speaks back "Did you mean Lin-nucks?"

While the example might make you chuckle, I think that such a feature could have far reaching impact - as has been discussed previously, one of the things which prevents people from learning about or discussing new things or ideas is an inability to pronounce the associated terms. Such an implementation would go a long way to solving that issue, in an emotionless and non-threatening manner.

Re:Google Pronounce - not just vox searches (2, Insightful)

MORTAR_COMBAT! (589963) | more than 8 years ago | (#15112970)

GWB: Google, find me some Eye-rain-ee-un New-cue-lar weapons.
Google: Did you mean Ee-rahn-ee-an New-clee-ar weapons?
GWB: Yeah, them's it!

Perhaps if Google had this in operation in 2002, we would not be at war with Iraq over "new, cooler" weapons, but that's what you get for using substandard voice recognition (and substandard presidents), I suppose.

Re:Google Pronounce - not just vox searches (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15114655)

Ah the old, old problem with voice recognition. I've tried it many times and it all seems set for the mangled vowels and general quackiness of the American English accent.

It has absolutely no chance with my dropped h's and glottalised t's, let alone the much superior way that I say 'a' and 'o'.

Vocabulary is the trick.. (1)

Pedrito (94783) | more than 8 years ago | (#15112873)

In Windows, it's fairly easy to hook up voice recognition to a browser. It would probably take me about 2 hours to come up with a basic voice-controlled browser.

As the article suggests, the vocabulary is the problem. When doing dictation, grammar rules allow the voice recognition engine to usually narrow the list of words making recognition more accurate.

The problem with searching is that you could be searching for anything. I'm not even sure their ideas of using past searches is even a particularly good idea. I do searches on such a wide variety of subjects, I'm not sure I'd want it to make assumptions about what I'm searching for.

This would be a nice application for a PDA or something, but for desktop, voice recognition just doesn't make much sense yet. The biggest problem is background noise, which really intereferes with recognition accuracy. Then there's the issue of whether or not you're actually talking to the computer. I like to listen to music when I work, so that's an issue, after all, it doesn't matter if it works for the rest of the world, it matters if it works for me!

There are various groups working on these problems and I suspect in the next 5 years, we'll start seeing much better voice recognition that can get past a lot of these problems. Once that happens, I think we'll start seeing a lot more voice recognition applications on the desktop.

All that said, voice recognition is in pretty good shape today. In a quiet environment, accuracy is pretty impressive. I've been playing with it off and on for about 6 years now and things have come a long way in that time. I remember when doing dictation had horrible accuracy and hogged my 200mhz Pentium. The extra computing power we have today definitely helps.

Re:Vocabulary is the trick.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15114644)

I got to work as a guinea pig on voice rec for helicopter pilots. I think they probably have the most possible background noise of almost any profession where you need constant radio contact. The software that the firm was developing had a nifty little limiter algorithm that would take the background noise and cancel it out of the recognition piece.

For the tests, they had us play battleship. Repeating back coordinates and so on, and the computer would confirm each choice. If any of this ever gets put into production, it will be a big help to voice rec in the real world of cellphones in noisy cars and voice dictation vs typing.

Its for AT&T (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15112896)

The patent is for helping AT&T to search that OC-192 (10gb/s) traffic. VoIP has the Goverment scared as it bypassed the classic phone tap network.

http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/04/09/16 57258 [slashdot.org]

Crackers`n`Soup

OLD NEWS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15113170)

I used Google voice search by phone... what something like 5 years ago? Really yes. It was one of their beta sites. You called in to the test phone number, spoke your query and then just hit search in your browser and the results came up.

I guess there were so few people testing it just pulled up the last voice print for the search. It was pretty cool though.

I've Seen this Episode (4, Funny)

carrier lost (222597) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113171)


Kirk: Computer, get me coordinates to Alpha Centari!

Computer: Did you mean: coordinates to alpha centauri

Kirk: Yes, yes, okay.

Computer: Alpha Centauri Alpha Centauri B is much brighter than Alpha Centauri C but still alot weaker than A. ... The coordinates for these stars are: ... www.eso.org/outreach/eduoff/edu-prog/catchastar/CA S2002/cas-projects/nether_alphacen_1/astrofacts.ht ml - 15k - Cached - Similar pages

Kirk: What? Quick! Oh, OH KAY! for Pete's sake!

Spock: Captain, you get better results if you say, 'I'm feeling lucky'

MjM

Oblig Futurama (2, Funny)

TCQuad (537187) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113649)

My internet browser heard us saying the word Fry and it found a movie about Philip J. Fry for us. It also opened my calendar to Friday and ordered me some french fries.

Re:I've Seen this Episode (1)

Noxx (74567) | more than 8 years ago | (#15114378)

I was thinking more along the lines of...

            Scotty: Google? Google?

            McCoy hands Scotty the mouse.

            Scotty: Hello, Google?

            Engineer: *sigh* Just use the keyboard.

            Scotty: Ah, a keyboard...how quaint.

            Scotty taps keyboard slowly at first, then accelerates to Warp-9

            Engineer: DRM-less music?? It...would take me years to design a business model for this.

            McCoy: Yes, but you would be rich beyond the dreams of avarice...

Re:I've Seen this Episode (1)

carrier lost (222597) | more than 8 years ago | (#15114679)

That is pretty damn funny. :)

MjM

google labs demo (2, Informative)

rednuhter (516649) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113180)

they have a demo (currently down) http://labs1.google.com/gvs.html [google.com]

To try out this demo, please follow these simple steps:

1. Pick up the phone and call the automated voice search system at (650) 623-6706.

2. After the prompt Say your Search Keywords, say your query to the system.

3. Click this link and a new window will open with your voice search results.

4. Say another query, and the new window with the search results will be updated with the new results.

IBM or AT&T commercial (2)

eXoXe (157466) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113186)

Wasn't IBM or AT&T suppose to do something like this a long time ago? I remember a commercial showing some girl hum a few notes, and the search system would attempt to find the song/arist she was looking for based on those few notes.

Royalty payments... (1)

Churla (936633) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113233)

So now I'll need to write a check to Google each time I yell "HONEY! WHERE ARE MY KEYS?" in the house?

Wait a moment, voice search? (1)

Random Guru 42 (687672) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113324)

Didn't Google Labs [google.com] used to have a phone-in search project some years ago that didn't go anywhere? I'm pretty sure that they did, and looking at the date of filing for the patent, it's likely that's how it came about.

I wouldn't keep my hopes up for Google Voice Search any time soon based on that.

Poor mans ... (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113416)

... Echelon. I hope we can combine it with this [slashdot.org]

voice searching voice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15113435)

Although there is a fixation on using speech to search normal web phrases, the larger implication here is using speech to search speech. Google has recently gotten into videos in a big way, along with voice chat. This tech would be useful to search inside the audio components there.

Cellphones and MMORPGs (1)

blueZhift (652272) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113483)

I would guess that the most immediately useful application of a voice interface to a search engine would be in facilitating searches from devices like cellphones. Right now, entering search terms in a cellphone is quite tedious. Another possible use of the underlying voice recognition technology would be voice to text conversion for chat in MMORPGs [proliphus.com] and other online games. Why? Because as voice enabled games and services like Xbox Live become more popular, the problem of "bad language" has continued to grow. Policing this is difficult because voice chat is not logged in any easy to search or filter manner, if at all. If Google lives up to its reputation, it's not a big stretch to see them building on their voice technology to provide voice chat to text logging for online game providers. Being able to log voice chat would also be useful to the gamers themselves.

iPod! (1)

Shanesan (955683) | more than 8 years ago | (#15113840)

Oh Shnap! This must be the secret Google-planned iPod killer! ...I'm sorry, let me put on my tinfoil hat.

How you could use this (1)

vinn (4370) | more than 8 years ago | (#15114036)

Don't think of voice recognition on computers - that's so 1990's.

First off, I think patents like this are evil, and though I haven't read the details I suspect it's written broadly.

This patent applies to telephony and devices that haven't been invented yet. How slick would it be to integrate your browser on your cell phone with Google's services? Think about the integration with Asterisk you could do. You could have Google provide driving directions based on your spoken input. Want a picture of your favorite porn star? Say the name into Google and you could send a pic to your PDA.

The problem right now is speech recognition. Nuance is the best game in town and they're damn expensive. What Google (and the world!) needs is an open source speech recognition engine. (We're talking engines, not those cute, cuddly Naturally Speaking-like toys.) Then you can build server side apps relying on voice - say build it into every Asterisk server, into Vonage's network, etc. Those servers receive the voice requests and make the search query over the Internet to Google using a custom API. Google returns the result to them and they figure out what to do. This makes the infrastructure overhead negligible for Google and puts the burden of application development on others.

UH?? (1)

crdi (964939) | more than 8 years ago | (#15114221)

....covers a 'Voice interface for a search engine.' It says "A Search Engine", no names mentioned, so why are people assuming and coming to conclusions that it is google?? It could very well be other search engines

Kiss my shiny metal..... (2, Funny)

LOADLETTER (932994) | more than 8 years ago | (#15114385)

[Professor] Good news everyone... We have been Googled. Here's the numbers of individual hits. [Bender] Wohoo!! I win again. (singing) Bender is great, Bender is great ...

Too late (1)

NemoX (630771) | more than 8 years ago | (#15114422)

A start up company I once worked for already developed this idea, and proof of concept *working prototype*. The prior work provision would allow it to be an invalid patent if ever challenged.
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