New Voice Recognition Search Engine Being Developed

Today, Google has a pretty solid lock on the search engine industry, so much so that it is very hard to break through and get noticed, with the Cuil engine being a great example. However, there is plenty of room for niche search engines and a new project at the Fraunhofer Institute for Intelligent Analysis offers a very promising look at the future of search.

The Fraunhofer Institute for Intelligent Analysis is currently working on a new speech recognition engine that recognizes words from television.

On its face, this is nothing new and speech recognition has found its way into most aspects of our life.

As an example, most Utility companies have adopted voice recognition, which is generally so sensitive that if you breathe into the microphone it stops what it is doing and tries to figure out what you "said." Google also is working on indexing voice and will actually transcribe voice mails for those that have a Google Voice Account.

As an aside, Google actually slipped up back in October of 2009 and allowed for the content of transcribed voicemails to make it into their public index. This was, arguably intentional, as those that were affected had opted to have their voicemails made public, but they likely did not intend for them to be made that public...

An Innovative Approach to Voice Recognition

However, what sets the Fraunhofer project apart is that it focuses on breaking down words into known syllables and then stringing the syllables together into words. This is opposed to the standard dictionary approach, which relies on a large list of known words. This is a very innovative approach, as they can create almost any word by breaking it down into different parts, analyzing the parts, and then putting it back together again.

Currently, their focus is primarily on televised broadcasts, as the speakers tend to enunciate better and the recording is generally much clearer than non-commercial recordings. This change is very exciting and could ultimately change the way we search and spill over into other areas, such as improving voice recognition software for those who are disabled.

The Fraunhofer Institute for Intelligent Analysis

Other Interesting Niche Search Engines

Even though Google does currently have a stranglehold on traditional search, more and more Niche search engines are popping up.

There are many interesting niche search engines, with some of the ones I like below:

  • Tineye is a reverse image search, which while it still has a lot of indexing to go, can be a great tool for finding out if an image is unique or locating the original source of an image.
  • Wolfram Alpha is a very ambitious project that is intended to help make some of the more technical areas available to the general public. You can use it to create bar codes, compute complicated mathematical formulas, answer abstract questions, and much more.

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