It has been a good number of years since I’ve used speech-to-text. Partly because I enjoy typing on nice mechanical keyboards, but party also because they’ve always been a bit…terrible. Last month though, I was forced to rely on technology to get my typing done because I had somehow fractured my right hand.
Well, with the advancements in AI and voice recognition, surely it’s at least usable these days, right? Especially if it’s coming from one of the three biggest tech companies in the world?
The answer ending up being a “kind of”. From a basic level of being able to understand most of what you’re saying, Microsoft Online Speech Recognition, Google Voice Typing and Apple Dictate all work for the most part. Even my Malaysian accent didn’t prove an issue until I started using slang words—but that is to be expected.
There are, of course, differences in which sectors each program excelled in. Apple Dictate for example was great at getting names right. I didn’t find myself having to overemphasise anything for it to understand what I meant. Surprisingly, Google’s Voice Typing struggled with the name TikTok, giving me three different variations of spelling. Even though it has a feature that lets it go back and correct the sentence through context clues, it just wasn’t as reliable as Apple. Neither was Microsoft’s option.
While Microsoft did well in terms of accuracy, it struggled when it came to speed. It was certainly the slowest of the three with Apple just barely edging out Google Voice Typing. Microsoft was slow to the point where I wasn’t sure if it was picking up what I was putting down, which made it challenging to quickly fix mistakes as I’m dictating.
Finally, when it comes to accessibility, Google pulls out ahead here because it’s baked right into Google Docs and even Gboard. This means pretty much anyone should be able to access it from most devices, unlike the Microsoft and Apple option which require you to have a system or device running their software to use.
What kind of dictation apps do you use? Do you have a better option? Let me know in the comments below.