Baidu Research Releases New TalkType Voice Keyboard

It nearly goes without saying that mobile devices still primarily rely on a “physical keyboard” but the Chinese giant Baidu is looking to change this with the free release of TalkType which emphasizes voice input through machine learning in order to get your messages sent for you.

Baidu TalkType Keyboard
Image source: iTunes

TalkType allows you to, well, talk and type

Small keyboards can be difficult to deal with for those with larger hands than Donald Trump. Baidu is hoping to make voice imput the future given the recent successes by many companies with voice recognition that powers Google’s assistant, Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa and other platforms with one of its own.

TalkType will still allow you type just as you do now on your mobile devices, however, Baidu has put the microphone at the center of its newly released app for Android.

“TalkType is the first full-function smartphone keyboard that is ‘voice first,’ not ‘voice also,’” explains Bijit Halder, project leader in Baidu Research’s Silicon Valley AI Lab when the new app was announced. “Unlike conventional smartphone keyboard designs, where voice is targeted for occasional use and delegated to a small mic icon, TalkType is designed to make voice the primary mode,” he says.

For now, the app won’t take care of punctuation for you but offers support for those willing to simply say “comma,” “period,” “question mark,” and “exclamation point.” This is certainly a fine addition for those that still believe that messages, email, and SMS require proper grammar, a shrinking minority to be certain.

TalkType also offers emoji and GIFs, because well you just can’t get away from them, though I’m happy to say that I’ve never used either. Call me a neanderthal or old-fashioned, I’m surely in the minority there.

Additionally, the free app which is available at the Google Play store allows for location sharing for those that need to share every detail of their lives. TalkType is the brainchild of Chief Scientist Dr. Andrew Ng at Baidu Research who is a respected innovator in machine and deep learning who formerly co-developed Google Brain using Google’s cloud computing network.

It’s not perfect but Baidu is promising it will only get better with time and users taking it for a test drive or, hopefully, using it regularly.