Google Shows Off Voice Recognition by Letting You Title Silent Film Clips

Future Tense
The Citizen's Guide to the Future
March 19 2013 6:19 PM

Google Shows Off Voice Recognition by Letting You Title Silent Film Clips

144949299
Can you hear me now, Google?

Photo by EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images

Unless you’re talking to someone on Skype, most of us prefer to interact with our computers by typing, not speaking out loud. But Google has been working hard on voice recognition, as demonstrated by the recent roll-out of the Web Speech API for Chrome. To demonstrate just how well it works, they’ve released a neat little tool that lets you add your voice to classic silent-film clips.

Just open up Chrome (yes, it must be Chrome) and head over to PeanutGalleryFilms.com. There, you can select a black-and-white segment. As it plays, any words you vocalize will appear as old-timey titles.

Advertisement

The voice recognition isn’t yet perfect; as the Peanut Gallery “about” page admits, you can’t use proper nouns, and if you want punctuation, you have to say “comma” or “question mark” aloud. (I tested this out with the 1902 film A Trip to the Moon. As actors ventured out of their spacecraft and onto the surface of the moon, I said, “There’s Elon Musk.” Google rendered that as “There’s a long mask.”)

But all pickiness aside, it’s a fun tool that could serve Google well. Responses might help the company refine its voice recognition. Perhaps it will also help those who use neither Siri nor Google Voice Search become comfortable speaking aloud to a machine. Both will be particularly important as Google comes closer to releasing Glass—as my colleague Will Oremus points out, it appears that Glass will be controlled in large part by speech.

Watch a demonstration of the Peanut Gallery below.

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.

Torie Bosch is the editor of Future Tense, a project of Slate, the New America Foundation, and Arizona State that looks at the implications of new technologies. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Justice Ginsburg’s Crucial Dissent in the Texas Voter ID Case

The Jarring Experience of Watching White Americans Speak Frankly About Race

How Facebook’s New Feature Could Come in Handy During a Disaster

The Most Ingenious Teaching Device Ever Invented

Sprawl, Decadence, and Environmental Ruin in Nevada

View From Chicago

You Should Be Able to Sell Your Kidney

Or at least trade it for something.

Space: The Next Generation

An All-Female Mission to Mars

As a NASA guinea pig, I verified that women would be cheaper to launch than men.

Terrorism, Immigration, and Ebola Are Combining Into a Supercluster of Anxiety

The Legal Loophole That Allows Microsoft to Seize Assets and Shut Down Companies

  News & Politics
Jurisprudence
Oct. 19 2014 1:05 PM Dawn Patrol Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s critically important 5 a.m. wake-up call on voting rights.
  Business
Business Insider
Oct. 19 2014 11:40 AM Pot-Infused Halloween Candy Is a Worry in Colorado
  Life
Outward
Oct. 17 2014 5:26 PM Judge Begrudgingly Strikes Down Wyoming’s Gay Marriage Ban
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 17 2014 4:23 PM A Former FBI Agent On Why It’s So Hard to Prosecute Gamergate Trolls
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 20 2014 7:15 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 9 A spoiler-filled discussion of "Flatline."
  Arts
Behold
Oct. 19 2014 4:33 PM Building Family Relationships in and out of Juvenile Detention Centers
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 17 2014 6:05 PM There Is No Better Use For Drones Than Star Wars Reenactments
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 20 2014 7:00 AM Gallery: The Red Planet and the Comet
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 16 2014 2:03 PM Oh What a Relief It Is How the rise of the bullpen has changed baseball.