Google’s Gboard keyboard rolls out a new feature that can now dictate your texts even when you’re offline, at least if you use a Pixel.
Google’s AI team announced that it updated the Gboard’s speech recognizer to recognize characters one-by-one as they’re spoken, and it is now hosted directly on the device.
By no longer having to send data over the internet, Gboard’s voice typing should now be faster and more reliable. Google explained that it wanted to create a speech recognizer that was “compact enough to reside on a phone” and wouldn’t be pinch by unreliable WiFi or mobile networks.
Voice recognition traditionally works by breaking apart the words you speak into smaller parts known as phonemes. The speech recognizer would then analyze the order, pattern, and context of the phonemes in order to generate a sentence.
This would usually result in a lag as you waited for the software to make its best guess at what you were actually saying. Google’s AI team stated in that its model “outputs characters one-by-one, as you speak, with white spaces where appropriate.”