Google scoops up speech recognition patents (updated)

Google introduces "conversational search"

Above: Google introduces "conversational search"

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Update: Google has confirmed the acquisition.

SR Tech Group LLC is claiming that Google scooped up a number of speech-related patents today.

The portfolio includes a patent covering a speech interface for search engines and a patent that covers a system for modifying a speech recognition program, the SR Tech Group said in a news release. SR Tech Group is partnered with VoiceTechGroup, a Cincinnati-based company that develops speech and voice recognition technologies.

In May, Google demonstrated its “conversational search” features at its developer-focused conference. Conversational search — as Google calls it — means people can ask a question, rather than typing in search terms to get the answer for a query.

To take advantage of this tool, you need to use Google’s Chrome web browser and a working microphone. From there, you can start by saying “OK, Google …” and proceed to ask it a question or make a demand.

The search giant has been investing in this technology for some time to compete with Apple’s Siri offering.

The press release offers a statement from Google’s Allen Lo, Deputy General Counsel for Patents:

“Google appreciates the innovations of SR Tech Group, and is pleased to acquire SR Tech Group’s patents and patent applications. This patent portfolio complements our existing holdings of over 50,000 patents and applications worldwide.”

Terms of the deal have not yet been disclosed. A Google spokesperson confirmed the acquisition in an email, but would not offer further comment at this time. We will update you when we learn more.

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