Microsoft Recite: useful, interesting, drop-dead simple and powerful

Microsoft Recite: useful, interesting, drop-dead simple and powerful

Summary: ZDNet colleague Zack Whittaker has a way of firing me up from time to time (check out my Windows Mobile post from last month) and he does it again this Friday with his Microsoft Recite post. I am not sure if it is because of Zack's foreign accent, the site says it is available in English (US) and not the English(UK), or maybe the particular Windows Mobile device he is using (Zack, what device do you have?), but Recite doesn't seem to work very well for him. On the other hand, I actually used it several times just this week on my Palm Treo Pro (I've been using this device more and more lately) and find it to be an awesome utility and find the technology behind the application to be quite powerful.

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ZDNet colleague Zack Whittaker has a way of firing me up from time to time (check out my Windows Mobile post from last month) and he does it again this Friday with his Microsoft Recite post. I am not sure if it is because of Zack's foreign accent, the site says it is available in English (US) and not the English(UK), or maybe the particular Windows Mobile device he is using (Zack, what device do you have?), but Recite doesn't seem to work very well for him. On the other hand, I actually used it several times just this week on my Palm Treo Pro (I've been using this device more and more lately) and find it to be an awesome utility and find the technology behind the application to be quite powerful.

As you can see on the How it Works page the user interface for Recite is as basic as you can get with a soft key for Remember and one for Search. Results from a search are then ordered by matched score and you simply select to listen to the voice note. It doesn't get any simpler than that and I found it always finding the correct voice note every single time. The tips for best results do state you should hold your device about a foot from your mouth and speak confidently like a news reporter. Maybe Zack needs to work on his news reporter voice ;)

While I find Recite to be solid, accurate, and responsive you also have to remember the current release from Microsoft Labs is a Technology Preview so it is still under development and is a demonstration of what a future product may look like.

I also find Zack's "some important points" section to be a bit silly. There may be some Windows Mobile devices that crash and are slow, but there are also MANY others that are rock solid and perform just fine. My Treo Pro is outstanding and the non-touch screen devices I have used never crash. Also, you can pick up most Windows Mobile devices for almost nothing with a contract and they aren't any more expensive than any other smartphone device. Do people really carry around Post-it notes or pen and paper all the time to leave notes? I have to think a mobile phone is with you more often than these items and the ability to capture a thought quickly and easily on your phone and then later easily find it makes more practical sense to me. Lastly, Recite may not work for Zack, but it works flawlessly for me.

I actually have a Scottish fellow who works here in my office so I think I'll have him test out Recite next week and see how it performs for him.

Topics: Smartphones, Hardware, Microsoft, Mobile OS, Mobility, Operating Systems, Software, Wi-Fi, Windows

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4 comments
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  • Accent shouldn't be relevant

    http://blogs.msdn.com/recite/archive/2009/02/15/announcement-microsoft-recite-technology-preview.aspx

    [i]Microsoft Recite?s voice search makes it easy to retrieve your stored thoughts and notes by using voice pattern matching. It analyzes the patterns in your speech and finds matches between two recordings -- the notes you stored on your phone, and the search you do using your voice.[/i]

    It never tries to understand WHAT you said, it only tries to match sounds. You could invent your own language and it should work just fine. What probably wouldn't work well is to have 1 person store the note and then have another person try to find it.

    [i]the site says it is available in English (US) and not the English(UK)[/i]

    I believe this is just for the UI.

    [i]I found it always finding the correct voice note every single time[/i]

    In my experience, MS techs never work well for people who already hate MS. One of the funniest videos I ever saw was from the iPhone blog when they were doing the smartphone round robin. Watching him be purposefully stupid while using the WM phone was painful.
    NonZealot
    • You are correct, forgot about relevancy of language

      Now that you mention it I remember the presenters at Mobius who were talking about this saying we could record notes in Klingon and then search using Klingon and it should work just as well as English :)
      palmsolo (aka Matthew Miller)
      • QaPla! <nt>

        :)
        AllKnowingAllSeeing
    • OMG You posted!!!

      Took awhile to find one ... huh????
      No More Microsoft Software Ever!