"Web browser developer Opera Software wants to help you tell your TV to check what's on, thanks to the launch of a voice-enabled TV guide. The Oslo, Norway, company's Electronic Program Guide (EPG) is based on IBM's ViaVoice implementation of the XHTML+Voice (X+V) multimodal markup language specification currently wending its way through the Worldwide Web Consortium (W3C) standards process. The company plans to roll out a voice-enabled version of its desktop PC Web browser in late March or early April 2005. Officials said the technology is suited to any number of digital home entertainment components, such as DVD players and digital video recorders; it also focuses on the benefits voice technology would have on the cable or satellite set-top boxes. Now, instead of wading through programming on hundreds of channels by remote, users can tell the set-top box, "find me a documentary," or "find G-rated fare" in order to display the relevant shows."
Nice article on voice browsing on different end user devices. I wonder about the effectiveness and usability of voice-enabled PC and mobile browsers due to the more open and complex nature of the fixed and mobile Web and the limited appeal of TV for these devices at this point. I can imagine the benefits of this innovation within set-top-boxes or PVRs considering its more closed and thus searchable nature as well as the TV as a logical device for watching TV. Of course, this is all changing at this moment due to the rise of different home networking solutions (from PC to TV and from mobile to TV). I also wonder how long it will take before FireFox and Microsoft Internet Explorer will offer similar functionality. Opera seems to be effectively targeting high growth end user devices like mobile phones and PVRs/STBs.
Voice browsing seems like a nice-to-have innovation and not a need-to-have due to the limited time gains relative to data driven search queries. Additionally, voice enabled applications in my view seem be limited in use and market potential due the social nature of some end user devices in particular circumstances.