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Microsoft Adding More Voice to Xbox, Windows Phone

Microsoft seems to be focused on turning voice technology into more of a natural conversation as the company has released a “glimpse of the future” video that demonstrates it’s voice technology plans.

Microsoft demonstrated the new voice interface in Xbox 360 Kinect and showcased a seamless approach to the Xbox Live menu and voice recognition with games. These new updates are planning to be rolled out this fall. Microsoft is also looking to have a deeper Windows Phone integration with voice technology when Mango is released this fall.

In an interview with Ilya Bukshteyn, Microsoft Tellme senior director, GeekWire has learned that Microsoft has major plans for its voice technology. Here is a rundown of some of the topics covered by Bukshteyn:

Shift to the cloud: “One cloud for speech is incredibly important powerful. Our goal is having one feedback loop and one cloud that actually learns across domains. The key there is really having varied utterances. We get about 11 billion utterances a year right now in our cloud. We believe it’s the most-used speech cloud in the industry – it’s a little hard to get stats. So literally that’s multiple utterances a second, where each one is an opportunity to get better and learn.”

Voice in Internet Explorer: “There’s nothing that we’ve announced. I think you’ve seen, out in the industry, some work that we’re participating in with standards bodies to, at some point in the future, have a voice/speech tag in html. Hasn’t been agreed to yet. We’re very active with the standards bodies. Once you have that, it opens up a whole bunch of opportunities. The way it’s being discussed, the tag could point to a local engine or a cloud engine – any HTML5 app could make use of a local speech engine, or could point to a cloud for any part of the app.”

What about Windows? “You’ve probably seen that Windows 8 apps are HTML5-based. Nothing announced or concrete, but you can sort of see your way into the future, how that could play out. That’s certainly our vision in the future: You have a cloud service that’s available to any developer – Microsoft and external – that can be used in applications in Windows marketplaces, like phone or Xbox; could be used in line-of-business applications, Azure; or can be used for web applications, whether those run on the device, if you will, in a Windows 8 type of way, or anywhere.”

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