Always tinkering, Google recently added voice typing to its browser-based word processor, Google Docs. Although there is some noticeable delay between speaking the words and seeing them appear on-screen, the tool is quite accurate, and surprisingly good at a variety of formatting tricks. For those who do not have their own personal transcriber, Docs’ voice typing is a surprisingly capable substitute. Given the time it takes to edit and format, though, it’s much better suited for personal notes and agendas than writing a Great American Novel.
Getting started with voice typing is simple. First of all, Google Chrome will need to be up to date. Additionally, you will need to have a microphone installed on your computer, whether it be built in or external. To check that a mic is working properly on Windows, right-click the speaker symbol on the far right of the taskbar.
This will bring up the various sound options on the computer. Select “recording devices” to bring up a list of all such devices.
Any microphones that Windows detects will show up here. If your mic is working, there should be a green check mark.
Open up a new Google Doc in Chrome — this feature only works in the browser, not in the mobile app — and select Tools from the tabs in the upper-left corner. Select Voice typing to open the tool.
A small microphone should appear on screen. Above the microphone will be a drop-down menu to select your language. Click the microphone, and it should turn red. This means the voice recognition software is now listening.
Two important things to note before dictating: one must speak clearly and at a moderate pace for the software to understand, and punctuation has to be spoken aloud. As an example, let’s start with the sentence, “Google, please write down everything I say.” Since the voice recognition software requires users to include punctuation, one would need to say “Google comma please write down everything I say period” in order to produce that exact text.