Earlier this week, Life Hacker and Richard Byrne wrote about a new online service that takes advantage of Google’s Chrome browser to offer speech to text. I welcome this news because I think it’s always best when we can offer learners a choice of learning tools.
Online Dictation is not a Google Chrome extension or app that you add to the browser. Rather, it’s a website that offers voice to text. The caveat is that Online Dictation only works if you are using the Chrome browser.
The voice recognition in Online Dictation is excellent, even with the built in microphone on my laptop. There are also several voice commands available to make dictation more efficient. Another helpful feature is that dictation can be activated with a keyboard shortcut (Ctrl+Shift+.(period) Alternatively, the user can click on a picture of a mic.
Online Dictation is similar to TalkTyper, which I reviewed in early July. The most significant difference is that TalkTyper offers text-to-speech so the writer can listen to what has been dictated. This is especially important for anyone who struggles with both writing and reading. In my view, Online Dictation would also be better if the user were given a choice of fonts for dictated text.
Overall, I think TalkTyper is probably a better choice for most learners who struggle with text. At the same time, it’s great for the learner to have another option when making his or her choice!
Here’s a video demonstration of Online Dictation in action. I’m impressed by how well it handles both my “Canadian English” and the “Indian English” in the video. It may work well for you or for a learner you support.