Review: Google Voice to Text, Does it Work Well?

Being able to convert speech to text can save a creator quite a bit of time. Especially if the individual isn’t all that good at typing. And if you have already have an account, you can use Google voice to text in Docs to write that content. But, how well does it work?

Today, I’ll show some of what you can expect from the Google voice to text ability.

This overview is focusing on the Google Docs version of the tool.

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What is Google Voice to Text?

In the Google Docs app, you can access a voice typing feature. This lets you talk instead of type on any Google doc you have open. It’s meant as a convenient tool for some, and a headache for others.

Like any voice to text app, it relies on you being as clear as possible. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always work well depending on the person.

To enable Google voice to text, go to Tools and click, “Voice Typing.” Google docs will then ask to use your microphone. After you allow the app, a grey microphone will appear as a moveable element on your screen. Click it and start talking. The microphone will turn orange when activated.

Voice Typing

7 Things You’ll Notice About Google Voice to Text

So, I’m going to try not to have a completely negative review of this tool. Mostly, because I’m not the best speaker in the world.

However, this is my experience with using the Google voice to text in the Docs platform. It does have some interesting features and a few not-so-interesting drawbacks.

1. It’s Free

Probably the most notable feature of Google voice to text is that it’s free. Built right into the Docs app, it’s an alternative to paying for more advanced platforms.

As I haven’t played around a lot with voice to text apps, I’m not sure if this is a good thing or not. But I always keep one viable truth in mind…you get what you pay for, in most situations.

2. Speak Slow and Clear

I found that speaking as slow and as clear as possible gives the feature a better chance to do its magic. In fact, the last sentence of my test drive was nearly perfect.

Unfortunately, I spoke about as fast as I can type. This means if I have to go back and make edits, which I will most likely have to do, it winds up slowing me down in terms of production.

3. Creating New Lines is Difficult

One of the biggest pains I had to deal with was creating a new line. Google voice typing creates a new line of text if you say the term, “new line.”

Unfortunately, this came out by typing the text itself or adding in “Uline.” If I wanted to start a new paragraph, I had to time how I said the term perfectly.

Towards the end, I was getting the hang of it. But, the convert speech to text ability of Google has quite a learning curve.

4. Creates Capitalized Letters When None are Needed?

Added Capital Letters

Another odd “feature” of Google voice to text is how it kept adding a capital letter to the second word of most sentences. I’m not exactly sure why the system decided those letters needed to be capitalized, but it was quite annoying.

It also happened within the sentences as words that have no business being capitalized were typed so.

5. Gives Me a Speaking Complex

In order for most systems to convert speech to text, you need to have a clear voice and no background noises. As my office is isolated and volumes correct on my microphone, I can assume two things:

  1. Either the system is not very well structured for voice typing, or
  2. I am not all that clear of a speaker.

And after watching some of my past videos, I’m inclined to believe the latter. I’ve always been soft-spoken and often slur my words. Using Google voice to text just made me feel that much worse.

I’m probably not all that bad, but software like this can easily give someone a complex.

6. Does Have a Lot of Voice Commands Available

When it comes to voice to text in Google docs, there is a bit of a learning curve. The tool has a slew of voice commands you can use while coming up with content. But, it’s not very intuitive when it comes to some things.

For instance, if you need the actual word of a punctuation, you’ll get the symbol instead. This is a bit bothersome if you’re writing a paper about “comma” usage.

7. Perhaps it is Therapeutic?

I know I don’t always have the clearest voice. Between having a low volume and mushing my words together a lot, I can see how any voice to text software is going to have a hard time understanding me.

But, this does bring up an interesting aspect of the tool that I bet Google didn’t think about when creating it.

I can use this as a way to practice speaking more clearly in public and on YouTube. It’s definitely piqued my interest as a kind of rehab platform.

Is This a Practical Tool for Freelance Writers?

Voice typing online can be a time saver as it converts what you say into text. If your voice is clear and you enunciate well, you could easily complete an article in less time than if you were to type it.

But in my case, this is probably not the most practical method for writing. Then again, I am a far better writer than I am a speaker.

For someone who doesn’t have stellar typing skills but can easily say what they mean, then Google voice to text may be worthwhile. Especially when you consider the price tag of being free.

And I’m sure that if I spent a bit more time mastering the software, I could probably make it work. But most of my days are all about being fast, efficient, and creating a steady workflow.

This means I would have to find time during the weekends or off-hours to get used to voice typing online with Google.

It’s Faster for Me to Just Type things Out

If I have to speak as slowly as I can so the system can keep up with a clear reading, I might as well just type. This way, all the capitalizations are correct, punctuations are where they need to be, and I can create a new paragraph without “Uline” being displayed everywhere.

Then again, I might not have the best voice for Google to translate. This is a problem I am still working on, if anything, to make my videos more understandable.

I guess it all comes down to the same reason why I hate Gutenberg blocks so much. I’m much faster if I just hammer out the text without having to stop for edits or fixes.

Would I Recommend Google Voice to Text?

I don’t think it’s fair to say if I would recommend the Google voice to text feature or not. I didn’t have the most spectacular experience with the tool, although, it did make me laugh quite a bit as I spoke my sample.

If you need a free method to write your articles by speaking, the Google voice to text feature in Docs is something to try.

And I’m going to keep working on using the tool. Mostly because if I can speak to a point where Google understands me, it’ll only benefit when I’m making YouTube videos.

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Michael Brockbank

Michael has been a freelance writer since January of 2012. He has completed more than 8,000 jobs for a variety of clients ranging from animals to travel. Currently, he is the Content Marketing Team Lead of GreenGeeks Web Hosting.

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