If you’re using a Windows Phone in the US, you may have noticed that the voice capabilities on your phone have gotten better. Over the past few weeks, we’ve been rolling out updates to Windows Phone customers, to improve the speed and accuracy of voice to text and voice search. Now when you compose a text message or search using your voice, Bing will return results twice as fast as before and increase accuracy by 15 percent. Check out the updates in action in the video below:
Over the past year, we’ve been working closely with Microsoft Research (MSR) to address limitations of the previous voice experience. To achieve the speed and accuracy improvements, we focused on an advanced approach called Deep Neural Networks (DNNs). DNN is a technology that is inspired by the functioning of neurons in the brain. In a similar way, DNN technology can detect patterns akin to the way biological systems recognize patterns.
By coupling MSR’s major research breakthroughs in the use of DNNs with the large datasets provided by Bing’s massive index, the DNNs were able to learn more quickly and help Bing voice capabilities get noticeably closer to the way humans recognize speech. We also made a few improvements under the hood that allowed Bing to more easily identify speech patterns and cut through ambient and background noise – cutting down response time by half and improving the word error rate by 15 percent, even in noisy situations.
To read more about all the great research MSR is doing around DNN, check out this blog post. This is only the beginning of Bing’s work to improve speech and voice capabilities across Microsoft devices and services, and you can expect more from us in the future. In the meantime, start talking to Bing on your Windows Phones and let us know what you think about the improvements. You won’t be disappointed.
– The Bing Speech Team