Google has updated its Gboard keyboard app for Android with AI-powered dictation that works offline. The Gboard keyboard for Pixel phones now allows users to speak out emails and texts even without an Internet connection.
“We’re happy to announce the rollout of an end-to-end, all-neural, on-device speech recognizer to power speech input in Gboard which is always available, even when you are offline,” Johan Schalkwyk, Speech Team, Google wrote in a blog post on Tuesday.
Google has been working on the new feature since 2014. While old versions of Gboard’s dictation software use three separate components to model audio waveforms, match sounds with phonemes and then combine those phonemes into the written output, the updated version integrates all of this work into a single step. It also compressed its graph of language and pronunciation models for matching audio to written words down from 2GB to 80MB, so it could fit easily on most phones.
For now, the on-device Gboard speech recognizer has been made available in American English language on all Pixel devices.