Speech recognition has come a long way in recent time even though the technology still requires training to reduce error margins.
The requirements for speech recognition technologies are a capable microphone or webcam, and a software or operating system supporting the technology.
Up until now, mainly dictation software and software for disabled people made use of speech recognition, but the most recent advances have brought speech recognition to the brink of becoming an established technology in the mass market.
Speech in theory is a more natural way to articulate commands and a proper, working technology will eventually replace other input devices partially or even completely.
Firesay is an interesting add-on for Firefox, as it adds speech recognition to the web browser so that users can use voice commands to issue commands in the browser.
While it is not mentioned anywhere on the page, it appears to be only compatible with Windows related PCs. It would be great if Linux, Mac, and users with Windows XP could test the add-on to see if it is compatible with their operating system as well.
The developer recommends to train the speech recognition in the Windows Control Panel. Two steps are necessary: Step one to make sure the microphone is setup correctly, and to read aloud a short text to train the speech recognition software. Once that is done all is set to test some voice commands in Firefox.
Firesay is currently offered as a beta add-on, which means it has some problems associated with it that will be sorted out over time. It supports a limited number of voice commands, including:
Firesay could become a helpful Firefox add-on. It's limited command set, and problems with voice recognition, reduce its usefulness at the moment. If the developers sort those out, and add more commands, it could become a must have extension for many Firefox users.
Firesay can be downloaded from the Mozilla Add-ons Repository.
Update: Firesay seems to have been discontinued for Firefox. It is now available for the Chrome web browser.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.