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Android voice search gets support for 13 new languages

Voice search: it’s one of the biggest battles going on in tech today and Google just let off its latest round of ammo.

Stuart Thomas: Motorburn Editor
Stuart Thomas joined the Burn Media team in 2011 while finishing off an MA in South African Literature. Eager to prove his geek credentials, he allowed himself... More

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The internet giant today announced that voice search for Android would now support an additional 13 languages. The feature was already available in 29 languages, bringing the to total to 42 languages and accents supported in 46 countries.

According to Google, this means that 100-million people across world can now find what they want by speaking to their phones.

Google product manager Bertrand Damiba says that although the company receives help from hundreds of thousands of volunteers, adding a new language is still a massive undertaking. Each language, he adds, presents its own set of unique challenges:

While languages like Romanian follow predictable pronunciation rules, others, like Swedish, required that we recruit native speakers to provide us with the pronunciations for thousands of words. Our scientists then built a machine learning system based on that data to predict how all other Swedish words would be pronounced.

The internet giant says that the update has already started rolling out to phones running Android 2.2 or higher and will continue to do so throughout the week. People will see the microphone icon on the Google Search widget on their home screen. From there they can simply tap the icon to start a voice-powered search.

People can also install the Voice Search app from Google Play. People may however need to change their language settings to use one of these new languages.

The newly supported languages are:

  • Basque
  • Bulgarian
  • Catalan
  • European Portuguese
  • Finnish
  • Galician
  • Hungarian
  • Icelandic
  • Norwegian
  • Romanian
  • Serbian
  • Slovak
  • Swedish