Voice Activated Browser
Web surfers may be able to talk to their computers one day using a browser announced Tuesday by Opera Software.
The new browser incorporates IBM’s ViaVoice technology, enabling the computer to ask what the user wants and “listen” to the request.
“Hi. I am your browser. What can I do for you?” asked a laptop with the demonstration versions of the browser.
The message can be personalized, such as greeting users by name. The computer learns to recognize users’ voices, accents and inflections by having them read a list of words into a microphone.
Opera declined to give a launch date.
“Voice is the most natural and effective way we communicate,” said Christen Krogh, head of Opera’s software development. “In the years to come, it will greatly facilitate how we interact with technology.”
I’ve never understood the fascination with voice-operated computers. I don’t want my browser talking to me; that’d be even more annoying than pop-up ads. Nor do I want to dictate to my word processor. I’d feel like an idiot. Not to mention how bad it would be in an office environment, let alone a library, coffee house, or other public setting that makes computers available. And you think people yapping into their cell phones is annoying.