March 19, 2014 00:00
By Asina Pornwasin
Google yesterday launched a Thai-language version of its Voice Search product. For now it is available only on Android smartphones, but is scheduled to be available on iOS phones and on the Google Chrome browser later.
Pornthip Kongchun, head of marketing at Google Thailand, said Voice Search would give Thai users one more way to input inquiries besides typing a keyword. It will also help provide equal access to Google’s services for disabled and older people who are not familiar with typing on a mobile device.
“To use Thai Voice Search, users have to have the latest updated version of Google search app and have to set the voice language as ‘Thai’. That’s it,” she said.
Around 73 per cent of mobile Internet users search every day, and 94 per cent of these people are searching for products and services. Voice Search is meant to help people on the go to do searches easily, she said.
“We have several millions of Thai words in our database that can help users search in Thai with a phrase or sentence up to 30 seconds in length.”
Google expects this technology to improve as the number of users grows, Pornthip said.
Thai is the 47th language supported by Google Voice Search. The English version was launched in 2008.
Google Thailand spent four years developing the Thai version. Teams in Thailand and overseas worked with Thai linguists to make sure the service works accurately. More than 700 volunteers also helped with the development.
“We worked with native speakers in Bangkok, collected spoken utterances to create the specific models that power this service in Thailand. Users can use Voice Search in their native tongue in a variety of acoustic conditions such as in restaurants, out on busy streets, and inside cars,” Pornthip said.
Google will roadshow the new search feature to educate small and medium-sized enterprises on the advantages of Voice Search.
“First, we will take a roadshow to Chiang Mai with KBank and the Chiang Mai Chamber of Commerce this weekend. We will conduct this kind of roadshow throughout the country, especially in the big cities,” Pornthip said.