The Windows weakness no one mentions: speech recognition

Cortana can talk. Skype can translate. But voice dictation via Windows remains a challenge.

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Windows has a feature it doesn’t like to talk about. While the OS lets you scrawl notes with a stylus, log in with you face (or secure the Web) via Windows Hello, and even order Cortana to set a reminder, what it’s not so eager for you to do, apparently, is use its speech recognition engine to issue commands or take voice dictation.

The reason for its silence may go back 10 years, to when Microsoft product manager Shanen Boettcher demonstrated voice dictation  inside Windows Vista—and flubbed it. The technology kept a low profile after that, and today, few users know you can dictate a document within Windows. 

If there were ever a time for Windows to try again, though, it would seem to be now, when advances in computers and artificial intelligence provide a much better foundation for the technology. “

"This is such a great question," said Harry Shum, the executive vice president overseeing Microsoft’s speech-recognition research, as well as Cortana and Bing, when asked about dictation's future within Microsoft Office. "There is really no reason why it is not playing a much more prominent role yet."

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