Google voice is interesting, I think, and surprisingly you soon. It lets you use your voice no just the web search is not for any text input. And with jelly bean, the newest version of android, the voice recognition can happen with your phone, with no network connection needed. Of course, as these paragraphs shows, recognition is not quite there yet at least not for a second language speak in such as myself.
Google Voice is interesting, I think, and surprisingly useful. It lets you use your voice not just for web searches but for any text input. And with Jellybean, the newest version of Android, the voice recognition can happen all on your phone, with no network connection needed. Of course, as this paragraph shows, the recognition is not quite there yet — at least not for second-language speakers such as myself.
The results above are pretty good, but I read a pre-written text and spoke slowly and clearly while in a quiet room, and I used the correction feature to select the right word when I could. With my usual fast, sloppy speech or in a noisy environment it works much worse. The biggest hurdle is ad-libbing your text. A large part of recognition is to match your speech to lots of existing texts and figure out what words you most likely meant to say. When you "umm" and "aaa" and "no, wait", break off mid-sentence, repeat yourself and mix words together then you completely ruin that. The result is probably even worse than if it didn't try to match to other texts at all.
With some way to train it, better recording and processing hardware and more familiarity on my part I'm sure it would get better. The ideal is to dictate an email in my usual hurried, broken English, while rushing through a crowded airport, with the phone still in my pocket. We're clearly still nowhere close.
Some people speculate that voice input will eventually completely replace the keyboard. That's not going to happen. You can't speak aloud for long stretches when at home, when on the train or in public without disturbing other people. Imagine the noise in a large office with dozens of people talking to their computers all day long. You couldn't work on anything the least bit confidential or sensitive without hiding in a separate room with a closed door.
A keyboard is faster than speaking; it is quiet and precise — try to dictate a research report and see the word salad that results from all the specialized vocabulary — and is essential for things such as programming or editing. The keyboard will remain the best choice for most kind of writing. True, you can get RSI from using a keyboard all day long — but you risk laryngitis if you spend all day using your voice.
While it'll never be the main input method, it'll be a good alternative for short texts, especially when a keyboard is impractical. If want to send a quick message about your schedule when moving through a terminal then it's faster to dictate than to stop and slowly peck it out on your phone. When you make a shopping list is far easier to read the items out loud as you rummage through the fridge than to write them down. We'll never have onlyone way to input things. Voice will coexist with touch screens, with gesture interfaces, with physical keyboards and probably with other modes we've yet to even see.