Voice input in China

Over the last few days in Beijing I’ve noticed a considerable number of people using voice as a primary input, something you rarely see back in the UK.

It appears to me that this is for two reasons:

  1. There is less of a social stigma attached to using new technology. Walking through a train station holding a tablet to your eyes while watching a film is perfectly common and fine. In fact my friend Tom and I spotted a guy doing just that, while using his Google Glass.

  2. Voice can be a faster method of input than typing, particularly when you consider the huge number of characters there are in Mandarin. Listening to voice messages (out loud) was fairly common as was using voice to tell the Beijing version of Addison Lee where you wanted picking up.

This later trend reminded me a lot of seeing my sister use voice to search YouTube. She found it faster, and hadn’t grown up feeling like people might laugh at her for using it. What’s more, as she told me once, sometimes it’s better “when you don’t know how to spell the words..”

Daniel Bower

Blogging about platform regulation: algorithms, interoperability, kill zones as well as other bits and bobs. Read about my research, or read more about me.