Windows Phone speech recognition update rivals Siri, Google Voice Search

Windows voice search and messaging update
Will no longer compute "I in joy windows phone ate"

Both Siri and Google Voice Search handle speech-to-text queries pretty well, and now Windows Phone devices can claim to be on par with speed and accuracy, it was revealed today.

"Over the past year, we've been working closely with Microsoft Research (MSR) to address limitations of the previous voice experience," wrote the Bing Speech Team in a blog post.

This update, which began rolling out to Windows Phone customers over the past few weeks in the U.S., returns results twice as fast as before when voice searches are conducted through Bing.

Likewise, composing a text message or search using your voice is also 15 percent more accurate thanks to the update.

This is... DNN

The team at Microsoft Research was able to make these speech recognition improvements with an advanced approached called Deep Neural Networks, or DNNs.

"DNN is a technology that is inspired by the functioning of neurons in the brain," noted the official Microsoft blog post.

"In a similar way, DNN technology can detect patterns akin to the way biological systems recognize patterns."

Bing it on

Under-the-hood improvements that tweaked the way Bing identified everyday speech patterns are also responsible for bringing new voice to Microsoft's non-typing search queries.

Just as critical to reaching that "15 percent more accurate" figure are the massive datasets provided by Bing itself.

The final element employed by the Windows Phone update is the technology's ability to cut out even more ambient and background noise than before.

Apple is set to improve Siri functionality in iOS 7 and Google is trying to revolutionize Google Voice Search, but Microsoft's year-long development is here now, and the company promises that it doesn't disappoint.

Matt Swider