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Dictation, speech recognition and voice to text in Google Chrome

If you really need a dictation software that can do a fair amount of speech recognition and voice-to-text you can use the inbuilt Web Speech API which is an integral part of the Google Chrome browser. Yes, all you need is a nice microphone that can clearly listen to your voice and you can dictate all you want.

Voice to text capabilities are much needed and up to now people have been using Dragon NaturallySpeaking of Nuance that has great dictation features. It even adapts itself according to your speech patterns. But it costs money, and in many regions it is still not available. Another problem is, it is not available in Ubuntu.

This is where this Google Chrome dictation and speech recognition feature can help you. All you have to do is install Dictation as a Google Chrome app and you’re ready to roll. Alternately, you can also use this direct link to do your dictation. I haven’t yet gotten to trying this feature in Ubuntu, but there should be no problem.

Once you have installed the app, in one of your Google Chrome quick launch screens, you will encounter this logo

Google Chrome dictation icon

When you click it, the speech recognition, the dictation feature is launched and you can start dictating. The voice-to-text feature is quite efficient considering it uses a web API to process your voice and then convert it to text.

Currently the dictation Google Chrome app does not have many features if you compare with a full-fledged dictation and voice recognition software such as Dragon NaturallySpeaking, but it is definitely far better than having nothing. With some practice you can reduce your typing by more than 70%.

Fundamental features of Google Chrome dictation and speech information API

In order to start dictating, you need to click “Start Dictation” at the bottom.

In order to start a new sentence, just say “new sentence” and a period is appended and the new sentence is started with first capital character.

Saying “new paragraph” inserts a line break.

When you need a break you can simply say, “stop listening” and the application will stop listening to you. Then, if you again want to start dictating, you can click “Start Dictation”

The notepad that the Google Chrome dictation app uses is editable as it has been created using HTML 5. In case you commit an error, you cannot automatically correct it using a voice command, you will have to do it manually.

Can you save the dictation data from your Google Chrome app?

Of course you can, otherwise there will be no use using the speech recognition feature. Whatever you type using the dictation software, it is auto saved; it means if you close the browser window and the next time you open it, the text will be there.

You can also export whatever you have dictated, according to a small documentation available on this blog post, to Dropbox or Google Drive but somehow it doesn’t seem to be working right now. Nonetheless, it is a great feature if you are desperately looking for the dictation software. Even right now if it doesn’t allow you to save, you can simply copy/paste the text and besides, the text is being constantly auto-saved.