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

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

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore

And schools are getting worried.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

The XX Factor

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.

Politics

Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

Why a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Is Stirring Up Controversy

How Worried Should Poland, the Baltic States, and Georgia Be About a Russian Invasion?

Trending News Channel
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM -30-
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
  Life
Quora
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 11:33 AM Planned Parenthood Is About to Make It a Lot Easier to Get Birth Control
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 20 2014 3:21 PM “The More You Know (About Black People)” Uses Very Funny PSAs to Condemn Black Stereotypes
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 5:03 PM White House Chief Information Officer Will Run U.S. Ebola Response
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 20 2014 7:00 AM The Shaggy Sun
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.