You Can Now Type With Your Voice in Google Docs

By Adam Clark Estes on at

And it works pretty well too! Return new lock backstage we delete. space or at least I got it. Actually let me rephrase that: the new voice typing feature in Google Docs works reasonably well as long as you pay close attention and use your keyboard.

I typed the above paragraph in a Google Doc with my voice. The Mountain View nerds just announced a small set of upgrades to its cloud office software suite, and the newfound ability to type with your voice is most exciting. At least it is until you remember that learning how to type with your voice is like learning how to juggle lightbulbs. If you figure how to do it just right, it’s a pretty cool trick. However, a single mistake can really throw off the whole routine.

When using the new voice typing feature—which you can turn on by going to the tools tab in the menubar—I realised that the voice recognition software is really only designed for simple input. If you say a sentence out loud very clearly in a quiet room, Google’s magical algorithms will understand you most of the time. If you try to do something crazy, like hit return, things fall apart. However, if you think about how voice typing would be uniquely useful in a Google Doc, you can imagine how helpful it might be when transcribing meetings or collaborating with people in other locations. It works well enough for that, no doubt.

Regardless of its utility, adding the feature to Google Docs just makes good sense, since Google’s been perfecting its voice recognition software in recent years. Now, they get a whole new stream of data that it can add to the pools it uses from Android Wear and Google Voice and Google Auto and so forth. That means that Google can continue to make the software better and built new products. Maybe everything will be voice-controlled in the future.

But you have to ask yourself: Do you want that future? If so, you’ll have to change the way you work or at least learn a new skill. In the future, maybe typing will be artisanal thing. Maybe everyone will talk to their computers instead of their friends, like in that Joaqunn Pheonix movie. Or maybe Google Docs is just getting more useful.