voice recognition Stories February 19, 2016

AAPL: 96.04

-0.22

HSBC has told the BBC that it is going all-in on biometric security, replacing both passwords and memorable questions with a combination of Touch ID and voice-recognition. The bank says that the option will be offered first to customers of its UK branchless subsidiary First Direct before rolling out to 15 million HSBC customers.

First Direct’s customers will be offered the voice and fingerprint recognition system over the next few weeks, followed by HSBC’s in the summer.

Francesca McDonagh, HSBC UK’s head of retail banking and wealth management, said: “The launch of voice and touch ID makes it even quicker and easier for customers to access their bank account, using the most secure form of password technology – the body.”

The hi-tech security approach is heavy on Apple tech …

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voice recognition Stories September 11, 2015

AAPL: 114.21

1.64

The iOS 9 GM includes a new feature for Siri to help it better recognize your voice when using the automatic ‘Hey Siri’ activation feature. On all current iPhones, you can activate Siri by saying ‘Hey Siri’ when the device is plugged in to power. On the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, the ‘Hey Siri’ activation feature works all the time, plugged in or not, thanks to new dedicated components inside the latest iPhones meaning it can be ‘always on’.

This makes the addition of voice training particularly relevant. In previous OS versions, Hey Siri would just work if you toggled a switch in Settings. With the GM, the OS now prompts you to go through a few training exercises before the feature will be enabled. Some readers have claimed that this feature is like Voice ID, so that Hey Siri function will only respond when the true owner of the phone speaks to it. Whilst this would be a nice feature, we cannot reproduce this and believe it is only meant to improve general detection accuracy.

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The best 4K & 5K displays for Mac

voice recognition Stories October 10, 2013

Review: Popular translator app iTranslate gets reimagined for iOS 7

The popular language translation app iTranslate has been completely reimagined for iOS 7. Just like iOS 7, the app is heavily gesture-based. Because the new version features so many new gestures, a tutorial has been added that walks users through all of the new ways to interact with their translations.

At first glance, iTranslate does not feel as intuitive or as easy to use as the previous version. It takes a while to get acclimated to the changes, and to understand how to properly trigger the gestures, which can be a bit difficult at first. For example, when swiping, you have to swipe to the point where you will see the grey color transition to blue (for a shorter swipe), or purple (for a longer swipe) before the appropriate action will be triggered.

After going through the tutorial, the default languages are set to American English, and Spanish. Tapping on either English or Spanish pulls up the keyboard and you can type the text you want translated.

iTranslate supports text-to-speech, so that you can hear how the translation sounds. You can activate this feature using a swipe gesture. The user can choose from male and female versions of several dialects and adjust the speaking rate. Just tap on the countries’ flag to access the voice options and switch between languages.

iTranslate is available for free in the App Store for new and existing users. There is an in-app purchase for $4.99 that unlocks several premium features, which include removal of the ads at the bottom of the screen, voice recognition, and romanization (the option to convert other writing systems into Roman characters;  an example of this would be converting 你好 into Nǐ hǎo). Voice recognition is powered by Nuance and automatically recognizes forty different languages and dialects regardless of which languages the text input is set to.

iTranslate is a very powerful tool, and I would recommend it for those who are traveling overseas or simply as a supplemental tool for learning a new language.

voice recognition Stories August 13, 2013

One of the big question marks around the iPhone 5C – the rumored name for the mid-market plastic iPhone – is how Apple will prevent the lower-cost phone cannibalizing sales of the iPhone 5 and 5S.

One possibility is to limit sales of the 5C to emerging markets. Apple could make it available in India and China, where price is a much bigger barrier to iPhone acquisition, and withhold it from North America and Europe. That would make a great deal of sense, but is extremely unlikely and an approach Apple has ever taken before.

Analyst Gene Munster has another theory, though one just as unlikely: that the 5C will omit a key feature of present-generation iPhones: Siri.

Additionally, we believe that Apple may exclude some software features, such as Siri, which we note was not an option on the iPhone 3GS or iPhone 4 upon launch …  expand full story

voice recognition Stories June 3, 2013

As expected, Google updated its Chrome for iOS app to version 27 today after releasing updates for both desktop and Android late last month. The update includes a number of new improvements, the most notable of which is voice search that allows users to take advantage of the conversational voice search features Google already rolled out to Mac. Google previously announced the feature (pictured above), would be arriving on iOS, but today the updated app is officially available to all on the App Store.

With today’s update you will not only be able to search with your voice right within Chrome (a feature already available to users through the Google Search iOS app), you’ll also get “answers spoken back to you” for specific search results. Google first showed off the new conversational search features at its I/O event last month.

Other improvements in today’s update include faster voice recognition “with text streamed on the fly,” faster page reloads even on slow networks, and the usual stability and security enhancements. expand full story

voice recognition Stories April 19, 2013

CamFind for iPhone

Back in late 2010, Google brought Google Goggles (not to be confused with Google Glass) to the Google Search app for iPhone. At the time, it seemed like a great feature. You could take a photo of anything with your iPhone, and Google would instantly identify the object in the frame, returning relevant data about the photo.

That was 2010. You’d probably think that in the years following, Google would’ve continually updated Goggles, making the recognition more accurate and expanding its features. Well, you’d be wrong. In fact, Goggles functions entirely the same as it did in 2010, another fine example of Google’s continued dedication to their products.

Image Searcher, the developers behind a new app called CamFind, have seemingly stepped in where Google failed, creating a image-based search service that they claim is “four times more accurate than Google Goggles.” Let’s take a look at how it really performed.

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