updated 08:04 am EDT, Fri August 17, 2012
Swedish, Icelandic, and Bulgarian added to Voice Search
Google has added 13 more languages to Voice Search for Android users. The additional languages will join the existing 29 supported by the service, bringing the total number supported up to 42 languages and accents in 46 countries. It is claimed that the extra language options open up Voice Search to potentially 100 million new speakers, with the majority of the latest beneficiaries residing in Europe.
The new languages gave Google engineers challenges that forced them away from their usual volunteer-based mass-soundbyte collection process. While Romanian uses predictable rules for pronunciation, others such as Swedish do not, forcing Google to recruit native speakers. A machine learning system based on this new data was then built to predict how all other Swedish words sound. From now on, anyone using Voice Search in these new languages will help the system become more accurate.
The new languages added to the system are Basque, Bulgarian, Catalan, European Portuguese, Finnish, Galician, Hungarian, Icelandic, Norwegian, Romanian, Serbian, Slovak, and the previously mentioned Swedish.
The update has already started its roll out process, and will be complete within a week. Handsets using Android 2.2 or later will have the added functionality straight away through the Google Search widget, while older Android iterations will need to install the Voice Search app (Free, Google Play). [via Android Blog]