Microsoft adds transcripts to Word, but the functionality is still limited

The tech giant added a new feature to the web version of Word that allows people to record or upload audio for transcripts.

Microsoft’s Word writing tool will soon be able to record and transcribe audio, marking a long-requested evolution by everyone from students to reporters to Microsoft executives. But it has surprisingly limited features compared to the competition.

The new transcription technology, which will be available free of charge to Microsoft 365 subscribers who write with Word through a web browser, enables people to record and upload audio files for frequent transcription in seconds. In a test with reporters on Monday, August 24, Microsoft demonstrated that the tool works very well, recording sound from a computer’s speakers to the internal microphone (so no headphones are plugged in). People can also upload pre-recorded audio to the service.

But that’s where your competition-matching features end and where the list of things you can’t do starts to pile up.

The transcription feature only works in the web version of Word, not in your Windows or Mac desktop applications, or in your mobile companions. Microsoft said it hopes to have the technology available for phones and tablets by the end of the year, but is not committing to offering the technology for desktop applications.

Other competitors, such as the transcription tools created by Google for phones with its Android software, can work with more languages ​​or without an Internet connection. And apps like, for example, offer easier searching, branding, and sharing.

Microsoft said that what it offers compared to competitors is the simplicity of recording, storing and accessing transcripts within its suite of applications.

“We are truly in a unique position to help provide a one-stop shop, where audio, recording transcription, notes, and ultimately your story can all coexist within a single, safe and familiar tool,” said Dan Parish. , a Microsoft group program manager who worked in this new role. Parish said the technology grew out of Microsoft’s effort to help people “spend less time and energy creating their best work and really focus on what matters most.”

Microsoft’s decision to offer transcription technology marks a change that even the company admitted was a long time coming. People increasingly rely on voice-enabled technology for many aspects of their lives, whether it’s turning up the volume on music while cooking, texting while driving, or searching for a movie on their smart TV device. Even the US government relies on automated voice transcription to help keep records of some of the president’s phone calls.

As people increasingly adapt to working outside the office, Microsoft said its transcription software can help, both for taking notes and acting as a third hand if a child or pet suddenly interrupts us during a meeting. or brainstorming session


But Microsoft admitted that it has limitations that it hopes to improve

For example, Microsoft said that it will also allow people to record unlimited audio if they use a web browser, but limit them to 300 minutes (5 hours) per month if they record and upload later, as if they are in a classroom with a poor connection to. Internet. Microsoft also said that every audio file people upload has to be 200MB, or about 75 minutes of low-quality mono MP3 recording. Like other services, people can upload MP3, WAV, MP4, and M4A files, although other services like also offer support for various movie files, like AVI, MOV, and MPG.

Microsoft also said that while transcribing a recording made in Word will occur within moments of pressing stop, in part because Microsoft is actually transcribing behind the scenes, an uploaded audio file could take as long as the recording to transcribe.

But Microsoft said it sees itself “definitely on top of the industry” in terms of how accurate its service is. That’s in part thanks to his connections to Azure Cognitive Services technology, which he’s been perfecting for years.

“In general, obviously, we feel quite confident in the quality that we are producing here,” Parish said.

Google Translate will integrate transcripts in real time

There is no scheduled date for the feature to start working, but it would allow you to read in real time what the other person is saying in another language.

Google announced the integration of real-time transcripts to its Google Translate app, although the feature will arrive “in the coming months” of 2020.

Sami Iqram, product manager for Google Translate, indicated that this is a project in development for which there is still no launch date and it is not known which or how many languages ​​would be available at the beginning.

Iqram indicated that in the future the transcriptions could be integrated into other Google tools, such as the Recorder app, which transcribes audio in real time, although at the moment it only works in English.

This is not the first tool that Google focused on improving communication between users, since in 2019, the company launched Live Caption, a function integrated in Android Q that generates subtitles in real time in any video, podcast or other similar content. Also, at the beginning of the year, during CES 2020, the company announced the Google Assistant interpreter mode, which allows the user to communicate in real time with another person in a language they do not know.

Currently Google Translate is available in 103 languages ​​and, according to the company, it has more than 1 billion monthly active users.

Google will add Call Screen to Android One program brands: report

The feature lets Google Assistant answer calls and send a transcript of the conversation — and thus avoid having to deal with misleading calls

Google, in October 2018, launched the function called Call Screen for Pixel devices, which allows you to answer the call to Google Assistant and also sends you the transcript of the communication.

It is a good way to first decide whether or not to take the call, especially now that we receive so many robocalls.

Call Screen, it seems, could be ready to debut on other cell phones not from the Pixel collection but that have the Android operating system. According to Android Police, Reddit user hkyg found two lines of code in the Google Phone app that show a connection between Call Screen and Motorola and Nokia cell phones.

There were already rumors that Call Screen would reach other cell phones, but this new information could mean that the arrival of new devices will be soon. Most likely, it will be on devices compatible with the Phone app, which in addition to the Pixels, are those sold by Google under the Android One brand, which include the Nokia 9 PureView, Nokia 7.1, Motorola One and Android One Moto X4.

If you’re looking for a new tablet, it might seem obvious to go for Apple’s famous iPads (including the iPad Mini and iPad Air), and it’s easy to overlook the option of an Android tablet, especially as there are fewer and fewer manufacturers. who make them these days. It may seem unfair, but there are some Android tablets on the market that do their best to compete with the Apple iPad.

While some may question the sanity of an Android tablet buyer in this day and age, the best ones can satisfy any casual or professional need. Some Android tablets even work with a touch screen or mouse. And if you’ve already invested money in the Android app ecosystem, you won’t have to buy them for iOS again.

Whether you’re looking for an inexpensive device for media consumption or a possible replacement for a laptop, there are options worth exploring. We did the research, taking into account everything from screen size to battery life to ease of use – basically all the factors that go into a great tablet. Here are our picks for the best Android tablet out there today.

Google Pixel Slate

The Google Pixel Slate tablet tries to match the iPad Pro and Microsoft Surface Pro by combining a tablet and a Chromebook in one device. Although it’s not a full-fledged Android tablet (and it’s certainly not a cheap Android tablet), you do have access to the apps on the Google Play store and a lot of power here to use them. It comes with a stylus and has a 48Wh battery, front and rear camera, and an LCD touch screen. It also has a full desktop browser and support for a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard. It could even be used as a gaming tablet. The Pixel Slate also has the option to use Google Assistant. In a nutshell; it’s a great tablet. Read our opinions of the Google Pixel Slate.