The new version of Google Docs has several new features but the sexiest is one which records speech and converts it into a transcript.
It is the ultimate for students sitting through university lectures and could be used for those god-awful brainstorming sessions in business.
Computer voice recognition with accuracy sufficient for accurate dictation is recent, as processing algorithms were error prone. Recently, Google developed a set of neural networking models that are far more accurate.
To make sure it worked, Google funnelled its own voicemail traffic through the recognition circuits. The voicemail provided what are essentially grammatical rules as well as recognition material. Now the new voice dictation system has less than half the errors the best of the older models had.
Other functions in Google Docs include a Research and an Explore function.
Research integrates the process of search with the ability to cut and paste. It means that you can add details from an online encyclopaedia to a paper you are writing on a tablet—along with photos.
Explore makes sense of data stored in Google Sheets spreadsheets and displays it in a way that makes sense. Data still has to get into the spreadsheet somehow and you still have to tell Explore what data you want to look at, but the rest is automatic.
Research and Explore works only on Android while voice dictation and typing work only on Android and iOS mobile devices. All of the features will work on PCs running Windows and on Macs as long as you use the Chrome browser.