Fun Friday: voice input

I’m writing this entire blog post by speaking into my phone. The only things I’m doing with keyboard input are spacing and punctuation.

It would be fun if we could all try to do this today. If you want to leave a comment try leaving a comment with voice input. If you don’t have any voice input on your computer and you can’t do that feel free to leave a comment the regular way.

But my hope it is we’re all going to have some fun today speaking into our computers and phones and talking to each other the old-fashioned way.

#voice interfaces

Comments (Archived):

  1. Erwin

    Talking to each other the old fashioned way involves much more than the transcribed words. Body language and speech nuances convey a lot of information that is not captured by today’s voice input.Much like the emoji centralized standards with client-specific rendering, voice input needs a “tone” standard that can capture the speaker’s intent and include it with the message, to be “rendered” according to how the developer of the output device sees fit.

  2. Banet

    Fred, I’m curious. Why did you have to use the keyboard for punctuation and spacing? Is it that you’re not comfortable speaking the punctuation? Is it that you don’t realize that you can start a new paragraph by saying the phrase? Or is that only something that works on an iPhone? (By the way I voice dictated every bit of this and did zero editing.) Oh, and in general I am a huge user of voice dictation to my iPhone. For whatever reason I find myself only typing with one finger instead of two thumbs. Probably because I have extremely large hands. And therefore I find the voice dictation to be a huge timesaver and tremendous convenience. I do sometimes feel a little odd dictating in public or dictating punctuation marks but I think the formative years of my childhood hearing my father dictate memos to his dictaphone probably helps. 🙂

    1. Banet

      The phrase that I said but did not appear is “new paragraph”. I had to edit this follow-up comment because every time I utter that phrase it does what I ask it to a supposed to put the words on the screen. 🙂

    2. bsoist

      Wow, it took some practice, but that does actually work pretty well for punctuation.Having trouble with new paragraph, though. If I say new paragraph really quickly it doesn’t type anything but it doesn’t create a new paragraph. To type the phrase new paragraph above twice and just now, I had to say each word and wait before the next one.While experimenting with it, I did find that if I say it at exactly the right speed, I can see the word new typed and then deleted, but still no new line.The only editing done on this comment was to change one word for 22 words before the and of course I separated the paragraphs.

    3. Josh Gordon

      Do you know how to do parentheses and quotes?

  3. LIAD

    aggrieved. hoisin foot. house coma along weigh.

  4. bsoist

    When voice input like this was brand new I used to mess around with it quite a bit but I haven’t done much with it since aside from the Apple TV and asking my car to play music for meI was thinking more about it though when I watched the movie Passengers and saw the author dictating all of her writing that’s something I’d like to try to do moreThis is actually the first time I’ve used it for more than just a couple words at a time on this phone and I’ve had this phone for almost a year

  5. William Mougayar

    The three F’s of Friday’s Strike Back: fun features or funding, but today the fun is getting louder.over and out

  6. michaelbigger

    Amazon is an incredible company. It is showing the voice way with the echo and it is still day one. The only pita was 2 login with discus.

  7. kenberger

    I really miss Jamie siminoff’s ( founder) Simulscribe / phone tag and his early attempts to do this for voicemail. I don’t think he used much AI comma which is a major way that Google n others do today. He did use a lot of quote Mechanical Turk endquote real people to attempt to do this. Carriage return it really produced hilarious results often times!

    1. John Pepper

      I still have phone tag and it seems to work great.

  8. Saul Hudson

    Hi. I am using my voice to leave this comment. I use voice input regularly when I am in my car and sending emails. I do not worry about punctuation and spaces because you can also use your voice to give those commands. I am speaking in English but can also do the same in other languages . Por ejemplo, ya cambié y estoy dejando este parte del mensaje en español.

    1. William Mougayar

      How do you give it puntuation commands, in English?

      1. Saul Hudson

        As you are speaking just “punctuate” your speech with commands such as “comma”, “period”, “new paragraph” etc.. The system interprets those as commands rather than words you want to include in your text. So, for example, I would say the following: “Hi period did I explain myself properly question mark” and that would be written out in the text as “Hi. Did I explain myself properly?”

        1. Sam

          If you did that one ^^ with your voice, then I will just sit here and learn at the feet of the master! (he says as he types the new fashioned, old fashioned way)

        2. Ludwig

          You typed that one though, right?

        3. William Mougayar

          Very clear period Thank you comma Saul exclamation mark

          1. Saul Hudson

            You are most welcome! Unless your reply was actually ironic. And, yes, to those about to ask, I am indeed speaking into my phone to register this text.

          2. William Mougayar

            (I was trying to be a bit funny) but thanks indeed.

          3. Saul Hudson

            I am on sure how to use emoticons in voice recognition text

          4. William Mougayar

            As I think about it, voice input that ends up as text doesn’t do anything to the recipient’s experience (except to laugh at increased typos). The experience is with the person who is voice transmitting.

  9. John Pepper

    I’ve been using voice memo recording for a an app called Momento. For many years I was pretty diligent about keeping a journal on a daily basis but that was using handwriting and as technology advanced not only did I stop keeping a journal a hand written journal but I also stopped keeping a journal of any kind. But voice recording is allowed me to grab thoughts and reflections quickly so I hope this represents a return to daily reporting. Confirming I did this via voice.

  10. Ole Jakob Thorsen

    Try this for punctuation – worked well in the 70’ties:-)…

    1. bsoist

      I scrolled through to see if anyone had posted this yet. I missed your comment. I remember how funny I thought this was as a kid.

  11. rich caccappolo

    The challenge I have found is not tied to the technology (I think it is very accurate if one speaks clearly), rather I struggle to get myself to speak in structured, even way while recording. Also, I find a need to focus on avoiding “uhhs” and “umms” while speaking, else I have to go back and remove them

  12. Sailor279

    I’m really quite shocked how many people I know who do not use voice dictation on their mobile devices. I’d say only about 20% do.To me this is one of the top features on iOS, and a huge timesaver. The android device I used a few years ago worked pretty well too, and probably got better since. At times I prefer to respond to emails via voice on my iPhone rather than my windows 10 desktop for the convenience alone. When I speak clearly, accuracy is upwards of 95%! Being in the cyber security business, I prefer not to have a device which “listens” to me 24×7 for me to call out “Alexa” or other trigger word. But I do love the on-demand voice dictation on my iPhone.

  13. Thor Snilsberg

    i love using voice then i forget about it. Driving always use voice. Not sure why but even my sister who is quadriplegic from an accident is not even a super user. Why?

  14. Rick_Robinson

    I think there might be a limited use case owing to lack of privacy. Think of what you text and email about – would you speak same with even one other stranger nearby? Or worse a colleague. At very least voice input will change our syntax.

  15. Anish Kumar

    Was testing voice punctuation last night. Doesn’t work too well unfortunately.

  16. Christopher Seshadri

    Using the voice commands are highly underrated. I myself am guilty of not utilizing this feature enough. Thanks for the reminder Fred and have a great weekend all.

  17. Grace Schroeder


  18. Aaron Loring Davis

    I’ve been so intrigued by dictation in writing through recorded video that was them transcribed. I find it difficult to get the sentences to flow the way I might have them flow if our writing. What I found with regard to hurt finishing my book is to spend quite a bit of time making a solid outline first, and then add living from that in a way that makes sense but it’s really important to start with a solid framework. The other thing that I get hung up on is from the days of Dragon NaturallySpeaking and now just being able to talk and it understand what I’m saying.

  19. Joe Lazarus

    A lot of people seem to think voice will be the primary input soon. I’m not sold. I’m certain it will be popular as the technology improves. However, I don’t want everyone around me hearing everything I do. Nor do I want to listen to everyone around me talking to their computer. It’s best in places with some degree of privacy like your home, the car, a closed office or on a walk.

    1. daryn

      I agree, I use voice with Echo, Fire TV, and Xfinity X1 (which surprisingly works the best) a lot at home but never use voice commands at work or in public.I’ve actually stopped using my Sonos a lot recently since it’s so much easier to talk to Alexa on the Echo than launch the app or find a remote. Can’t wait for them to launch voice control.(this was typed)

      1. Joe Lazarus

        Yep, The lack of Sonos Echo integration is killing me. Apparently coming soon. I hacked together a temporary fix, but it doesn’t work as well as it needs to.

  20. Sathya Thambusamy

    Not a great fan of voice input but took the challenge of trying to post a comment without typing this was not that hard

  21. hemang c subramanian

    Read this blog is awesome and you are doing great I never realized that this voice input was significantly powerful.

  22. Ann Kirschner

    Check out “the Great dictator” — I’ve been using voice recognition for years, including some serious writing.

  23. Ludwig

    Just got one of the first Alexas in Germany. It’s really exciting what this technology is capable of, not long until this ‘toy’ we’ll be a full fledged tool for ‘real work”

  24. Dorian Benkoil

    Hi Fred, doing this by voice. Is it intentional that your pieces first appear as posts but not on the homepage? That’s what happened this morning with this one. (PS. I had to correct a couple of things in this.)

  25. Fred Thiel

    I find that voice input – whether on my iPhone or on my Mac – is a great times aver and allows me to be much more productive in my daily efforts. I’ve also found it a great way to take notes by using noise canceling Bluetooth ear piece and dictating in a low voice notes while listening at conferences or webinars.

    1. jason wright

      if that’s your real name then i’m really Ellen Doerr.

  26. kevando

    Hello my future investor. This is what I sound like. I’m 31 years old in the pre-beta, in Cincinnati. Please DM me if I’m on Twitter chat. Bye. Thanks for stopping by.

  27. jason wright

    This post only showed up in the last 30 minutes. Odd. I thought perhaps Friday 13th had ended your run.

    1. LE

      See my comment on today’s post about the same issue.

      1. jason wright

        I will.

    2. Lawrence Brass

      same here.