Chinese Internet company Baidu is currently investing in a lot of things, from Android-based smartwatch operating systems to self-driving cars and buses. Not surprisingly, the firm also occasionally dabbles in Android app development or to be more specific, its division Baidu Research does. Its latest app called TalkType Voice Keyboard debuted on the Play Store back in late July and, like its name suggests, provided an alternative voice-enabled keyboard on supported Android devices. Ten weeks and a couple of updates later, Baidu finally officially announced the launch of TalkType Voice Keyboard.
This announcement coincides with yesterday's release of the app's v1.1 update which adds a couple of major features to the already quite versatile keyboard. Among other things, the keyboard can now be used as a panel on which you can swipe letters and let the app do its recognition magic. Most initial reviews on the Play Store state that this feature works quite well even when compared to some of the more popular swipe keyboards on the Play Store. In addition to that, TalkType Voice Keyboard now also sports a so-called QuickShare function which adds GIPHY and Yelp integration so that you can search for GIFs and places of interest while typing. Baidu Research promised that more research functions will be available in the near future but offered no further details on the thereof. Using the QuickShare feature is as easy as tapping on the new icon located in the left corner of the keyboard and typing about whatever you're interested in.
Like its name suggests, TalkType Voice Keyboard also sports a voice-to-text system for people who prefer dictation to typing. Both its voice and swiping recognition algorithms are based on deep learning, an artificial intelligence (AI) solution which not only connects to large databases in order to pull data but gradually gets better at it as it observes its very own usage patterns. It's a really impressive technique which isn't any more taxing on the battery than a regular voice-enabled keyboard because all of the "deep learning" is being conducted on the server side of things. All in all, if you're looking for a third-party Android keyboard, this one looks like it's worth a try, especially since it's free.