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Talk to the machines...

Voice recognition software is a wonderful idea in theory, often not so impressive in practice. However Philips is determined to ingratiate itself into secretaries' hearts and is launching a new version of its FreeSpeech98 software, unimaginatively called FreeSpeech 2000.

One of the most vital requirements of speech recognition software, obviously, is that it doesn't turn your words into unintelligible rubbish. Philips says that its High Speed and High Accuracy (HAS) will reduce error rates by up to 30 percent (from what we don't know) with automatic adaptation giving constant improvement with use by learning you how you speak and adopting to your individual speech patterns. The software also lets you surf the Web by voice. Apparently you tell it what subject or Web site you want and it takes you there. Hmmm, be interesting to see exactly how well that works when Philips finally sends in a copy.

The software recognises up to 13 different languages -- useful if share you're house with a load of foreigners I suppose. The EasyEdit feature gives synchronous text highlighting and text playback in your own voice, and EasyCorrect lets you use voice commands for corrections. Other features include the ability to create personalised commands, Macro support, and a software development kit to allow you to voice enable applications. Available next month for £79.99.


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