According to a new report out of the Wall Street Jounral, speech and dictation service Nuance Communications has held acquisition talks with Samsung and has been exploring the possibility of a sale. It is widely speculated that the Apple’s virtual assistant Siri is powered by Nuance in the back-end. Samsung started partnering with Nuance late in 2013 for the voice recognition functionalities on its Galaxy Gear smart watch and Galaxy Note 3 smartphone.
Two former Stanford University students who created a startup to help doctors use Google Glass to view and update patient records have raised $3.2M in venture capital funding, reports SFGate.
Augmedix’s founders say that physicians currently spend around a third of their time with a patient looking at a computer screen, and that using Glass instead will allow them to spend more time communicating with patients … Read more
Google has rolled out a massive update to its Text-to-Speech Android app that includes a variety of enhancements. The update, which began rolling out to devices yesterday evening, bumps the app to version 3.0. Most notably, this update improves the voice functionality and quality. While the voice was originally rather robotic and boring, this update makes it more fluent and realistic, much like Apple did with Siri in iOS 7. The updated voice is available in several languages and both male and female varieties, but each language and style runs about 200MB, so be sure you’re on WiFi when you download them. The voices are also now available in Portugese (Brazil), and Spanish (United States).
There are some issues with the new voices, however. Android Police notes that commands that contact the Google server for a reply, such as “what is 3+2″, still use the old robotic voice. Local questions, such as “what is my next appointment”, do use the new voices, however.
The user interface has also been tweaked heavily. The voice management screen has been redesigned to show the size of each download, as well as detailed information about the voice.
The update is rolling out gradually on Google Play, so be sure to keep an eye on the Play Store for it to hit your device.
As Google’s Chairman Eric Schmidt makes his own predictions for 2014, I’m turning the subject over to you…the 9to5Google reader. There’s absolutely no shortage of topics to cover or “what ifs” for Google in 2014. Given the various branch directions that Android, Chrome OS and the company itself can go, it’s a loaded question. With recent reports indicating Chrome OS is on the rise, could we see Microsoft running scared in 2014 against the impending threat of low-cost hardware with an operating system that costs manufacturers absolutely nothing?
Update: TechCrunch reports that this video is fake.
Update #2: TechCrunch now reports the video is real and commissioned by Yahoo!, but not a real product yet.
With Yahoo’s acquisition of SkyPhrase, a natural language processing startup this month questions immediately arose as to how Yahoo would incorporate the technology. Now, thanks to a video on Daily Motion discovered by Android Police, we may have our answer as Yahoo prepares a Google Now/Siri voice-controlled personal assistant.
A novel new use for Google Glass: In the operating room, a surgeon does an operation wearing Google Glass and shares the procedure real time with his colleagues and students in a far off classroom via Google Hangouts.
“It’s a privilege to be a part of this project as we explore how this exciting new technology might be incorporated into the everyday care of our patients,” said Dr. Christopher Kaeding. “To be honest, once we got into the surgery, I often forgot the device was there.”
Google Glass has a frame similar to traditional glasses, but instead of lenses, there is a small glass block that sits above the right eye. On that glass is a computer screen that, with a simple voice command, allows users to pull up information as they would on any other computer. Attached to the front of the device is a camera that offers a point-of-view image and the ability to take both photos and videos while the device is worn.