Dragon Dictation was a surprise when it showed up in the App Store this week. While I guess it's no surprise that more and more developers are launching applications for the iPhone so we should see more surprise launches like this.
Dragon Dictation does a pretty good job of translating speech into text. In a few tests I read some standard political quotes into the phone and it seemed to translate with around a 95% accuracy. Very good results really. I particularly liked the way it capitalized words when they were in a particular context. For example, United States was properly capitalized in one text example.
Once you have your speech dictated, you can send that text in an email without even leaving the app, a nice touch. Or you can send it to the clip board and use it in a text message or paste it into another app. Would really like to see more options here. Would be great to have it automatically launch Tweetie 2, or Facebook, or other apps to allow status updates via voice.
There has been some confusion on one part of the end user license agreement (EULA) for this app. That passage states that your contacts will be uploaded to their servers. This, of course, got people up in arms, and generally confused. We asked Nuance, developers of Dragon Dictation for some clarification on this.
Dragon Dictation transcribes voice to text with fully automated speech recognition software and only uploads users' contact names - no email, phone or any other personally identifying information - to optimize name recognition when a user dictates. From there, speech recognition requests and contact names are processed in data centers based here in the US that meet Nuance's stringent security and privacy standards - the same standards that we use for processing private information in other areas of our business. We keep the contact names for the life of the service in order to keep synchronized with the user's address book.
-- Rebecca Paquette, Nuance
While some users still won't be happy about this, it's good to know before you download the app. If it bothers you, don't download the app.
Dragon Dictation is currently available for free from the App Store. There is some indication that the app is free for only a certain, unknown, amount of time. So if it is interesting to you, grab it now!