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Swype update for Android adds Dragon voice recognition and a swath of other new beta features

Swype update for Android adds Dragon voice recognition and a swath of other new beta features


Swype Beta for Android has received a major over the air update, bringing a speech-to-text support powered by Dragon, improved language context awareness, and the ability to download languages within the keyboard's preferences.

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Swype Beta for Android has received a major over-the-air update, and in the first real change since its acquisition by Nuance it ships with Dragon Dictate technology in place of Google's own voice recognition. We've given it a try, and it's got a fairly decent success rate — you're not forced to speak quite so slowly and deliberately as with other voice recognition software, though it occasionally throws an unexpected word back. Currently English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish are supported, but more languages are set to follow next year. Unfortunately, if you try to use a language that's currently unsupported, the service defaults to American English rather than falling back onto Android's built-in voice input.

The other improvements are also welcome. Swype's developers promise a honed advanced language modeling algorithm— a feature included in the last release to increase context awareness and improve prediction. The company suggests that it knows you're trying to type "mosh pit" rather than "mosh pot," but this wouldn't work for us, insisting that we meant "mosh put" instead. However, this language algorithm is said to improve over time by learning the way you phrase things and adjusting its predictions accordingly.

Finally, two more minor changes: languages can now be downloaded from the Keyboard preferences, rather than on installation, and the keyboard now follows the installer color scheme with an orange trace. The update can be installed from the Swype preferences pane now, and you can join the beta from Swype's website.