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A Google Docs update might actually make voice typing useful

With the next upgrade to Google Docs, the voice-typing capability may become more popular and beneficial for meeting transcription.

You can use your voice to ‘type’ in the cloud word processor instead of your hands (simply go to Tools > Voice typing with your microphone switched on). Improvements to the functionality, as well as support for browsers other than Chrome, are on the way with an update scheduled for early February.

According to Google, “translation mistakes will be reduced and audio loss during transcription will be kept to a minimum” with the update. The present iteration is inferior to other speech-to-text programmes like, which is used extensively by the TechRadar staff due to its restrictions. Microsoft’s accessibility and voice recognition capabilities have also made significant progress in recent years, allowing for use in programmes like Word.

If Google Docs’ built-in replacement can improve in accuracy to that of its increasingly sophisticated competitors, it has the potential to become much more popular. Especially because it can also be used in Google Slides to show a presenter’s words as they are spoken.

An further update, which adds compatibility for “most major browsers,” should help ensure the feature’s continued improvement. Google hasn’t confirmed which browsers will be supported, although it’s likely that Safari, Firefox, and Microsoft Edge will be.

When the upgrade begins rolling out sometime in the next month, we should know for sure. Users who have signed up for Rapid Release updates to Google Workspace will begin seeing it today, but the rest of us will see it come over the course of two weeks beginning on February 6.

The AI eventually figures out how to help

Google hasn’t said for sure what technology is behind the upgraded voice-typing in Google Docs, but it’s presumably the same as the AI-based interface it sells to companies to enhance services like customer interactions.

Dall-E, Midjourney, and chatbots like ChatGPT are just a few examples of the cutting-edge artificial intelligence (AI) technology that is quickly advancing in the visual realm. The capability to read handwriting has also been significantly improved. The development of voice recognition technology, however, is one of the most practical and accessible applications of AI. Trustworthy text-to-speech converters are just the beginning.

Microsoft has revealed an unsettling but possibly beneficial artificial intelligence technology dubbed Vall-E, which can imitate human sounds from as little as a three-second sample. Also in this vein, Apple has now released its first collection of audiobooks narrated by artificial intelligence (above).

Neither of these innovations is now accessible to the general public because of the serious ethical concerns raised by the possibility of impersonations. However, this tremendous development has thrown up a Pandora’s box of voice-based technologies.

The most immediately practical results of these new AI algorithms are the fast advancements in speech-to-text technology used by services like Google Docs (and, indeed, the finest text-to-speech software). While this programme takes notes throughout our meeting, everyone may start gathering popcorn for the inevitable moral discussions over advanced voice mimicry.