Tuesday, May 12, 2009

instructions and Tips

Important: Use the best available internet connection — 3G or WiFi — while dictating to avoid the "Connection problem" error.

Examples of good and bad dictation

"Did you leave the keys by the door?" This is a tricky sentence because it is easy to run the words together and there are lots of short words.

Bad technique. Too fast, no space between words. Remember that the inflection you use when talking to someone doesn't matter in voice recognition. You're trying to get a computer to understand. Think of it as typing with speech.

Bad technique audio

Bad technique audio (alternate link)

This recording came back with the result "Digimon wiki private or."

Good technique. Medium pace, clear, well-spaced words.

Good technique audio

Good technique audio (alternate link)

This came back 100% correct.

Voice dictation is a skill that takes practice! Try these tips for better accuracy:

1. Speak at your phone’s screen about three inches away, or with the phone to your ear as if you’re making a call. Don’t speak directly at the microphone at the base of the phone.

2. Speak slowly, and clearly at a medium volume. The waveform that comes up after you speak should have medium-sized bumps in it that are clearly separated from each other. It should not be flat or have big spikes in it. Spikes mean loud noise or noise very close to the microphone like squeaks in your phone’s hinge (this is common on the G1). Watch the volume meter at the bottom of the screen. You should aim for about two and a half bars continually.

Too loud/Noise

Too soft

Just right

3. The microphone is right behind the small hole on the bottom edge of your phone. Try not to cover or brush it while dictating.

4. Put small gaps between words. You should see a small flat spot between bumps in the waveform. This helps keep two words from sounding like one.

5. The limit for one batch is about 15 words. You can push "Add more" as many times as you like to collect dictation, but each time the "Speak now" dialog comes up, you should limit what you say to a small number of words.

Tips on productivity

1. Use distinctive words. "Lugubrious," "Alphabetical," "Hippopotamus," and "Arnold Schwarzenegger" come up correctly every time. You may be surprised at the things Google voice recognition knows.

2. Accuracy is not always important. For short notes, to do list items, and text messages to friends, small mistakes usually don’t matter. A to do list item that says, "Wright to grandma" is just as good as one that says, "Write to grandma" and it’s worth a chuckle.

3. You can add a custom disclaimer like "(Voice Texted)" to SMS messages (this won't cause an overflow into two messages or cost money). Go to menu --> Settings --> SMS Disclaimer.

4. Long press the call button to bring up the Voice Dialer and say, "Open Voice Text" for a nearly hands-free experience.

5. Get the last person who called you by sorting your contacts by rank. Hit menu, then "Sort by Rank" on the contacts screen.

If you have questions, feedback, or feature requests, please use the email link in Menu --> Settings --> E-mail the Developer.


  1. Takes too many steps to actually be helpful. Doesn't keep eyes on road if you are wanting to use it while driving. Good idea but not useful as is.

  2. Is there any way to dictate punctuation marks? When I say "Comma" it just writes "comma" instead of ",".

  3. I'd be more impressed if it could manage words like 'Yeah'... as it is I couldn't manage to get it to recognise a 3 word phrase ('yeah, big if') even with nearly a dozen tries. Absolutely worthless.

  4. Don't be disheartened by these idiots. This app is great. Most of the errors are down to a person's accent or dialect.

    After sending a few texts I got the hang of it and it works almost perfectly. It would be better if it could be used offline although that might be unrealistic.

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