Looking for that perfect program…

Today, I want to do a quick run-through of a couple dictation extensions for Chrome. I love using dictation because it saves me so much time. It’s not that I don’t type fast. It’s that it takes less time for me to speak than it does for me to type. I usually use Otter Voice Notes for my dictations. I’m actually using it right now, and it’s awesome. It recognizes my words! Plus, it’s just a great app all around. I love that it has a dedicated mobile app, and a web version for desktop.

The challenge I run into is I often need to “voice type” into different places, like when I send a quick email or when I explain revisions in our project management program. In order to do that with Otter, I have to first make my dictation and then I have to export it and copy and paste it into another location. While this is not difficult to do, it’s a bit tedious and I’m wondering if there’s a better solution out there.

So what I’m looking for in a dictation application is the ability to open a browser window and voice type directly into a form field or email, without going through the export process. Maybe, just maybe there’s a Chrome extension that would allow me to place my cursor in a field, and populate it while I dictate. Wouldn’t that be magic? I don’t know if that exists, but a girl can dream, right?

In my search I found and tested 6 different dictation programs:

Voice Recognition

Voice Recognition - Voice Recognition Chrome Extensions

The first app I tried was Voice Recognition. It uses Google’s voice recognition engine, which is already embedded into Google programs. In my experience, however, this engine does not always have stellar voice tracking.  

Pros:

  • It uses Chrome’s local storage to automatically save my transcriptions, so I’ll never lose my work. I don’t even have to press anything to save it! That’s awesome.
  • It can be integrated with Dropbox and GoogleDrive, and I can also send my dictated text to any email address.

Cons:

  • It doesn’t have any additional features above and beyond what I already have access to using Otter so it’s missing the magic component I’m looking for.
  • It uses Google’s voice recognition engine which is generally less reliable than Otter’s so  it likely won’t translate as well.

VoiceIn Voice Typing

VoiceIn - Voice Recognitions Chrome Extensions

Let’s move on to voice in VoiceIn Voice Typing. On the Chrome store the first line reads: “ Use speech recognition in ANY text box on ANY website”. This could be the one! This one also uses the Google voice recognition engine.

Pros:

  • I can begin recording in three different ways: by right clicking on a field and selecting record in the pop-up menu, clicking on the extension’s button to the right of the search bar, or with a 3 key shortcut.
  • The first thing I noticed was the speed at which VoiceIn tracks my speech. This is definitely faster than typing.
  • After testing it I really can voice type in any text box on any website! Now that’s the magic I’m looking for!

Cons:

  • I found it did make some mistakes in dictating my words. That said, it’s nearly impossible to make any dictation without making a couple of edits afterwards, so this may be a viable option after all.
  • It doesn’t do the best job with punctuation and capitalization of sentences. You can dictate the punctuation you want but it doesn’t automatically know when or where to do it.

Click to Dictate

Click to Dictate - Voice Recognition Chrome Extensions

Lets try another one! Click to Dictate piqued my interest because it claims that it allows for faster talking. I was pretty excited because this one doesn’t actually use the Chrome speech recognition engine but rather its own. That could be pretty cool. There is no mention of using this application in other programs and webpages, but I was enticed by the promise of speed, so I gave this extension a shot.

Pros:

  • IF I could have gotten it installed it would have certainly had some magic elements.  An application that can pick up on my voice faster would certainly be convenient.

Cons:

  • I found Click to Dictate to be very difficult to use. Despite the name, I found it to be unresponsive to many of my clicks. It had one job! I found myself uninstalling this extension as quickly as I had installed it.
  • This one wasn’t very intuitive, and it seemed buggy on top of that. That’s a BIG NO in my book.

Simple Text to Speech

The next extension I looked at was simple text to speech. This one sounded promising, but upon further inspection I realized it was an app that takes selected text and reads it to the user. Oops! Sounds neat, but not quite what I’m looking for.

Voice to Text

Voice to Text - Voice Recognition Chrome Extensions

Next up is voice to text. One unique thing I noticed with this app was that it boasted the ability to dictate over 60 different languages. This feature is totally lost on me, as I only speak in one and a quarter languages if you count my 200 word Spanish vocabulary, but that’s super cool nonetheless! I went ahead and downloaded it.

Pros:

  • I found it to be very simple to use.
  • It’s definitely worth checking out if you’re multilingual.

Cons:

  • The first thing I noticed is that it has some ads. I wasn’t too excited about that, but I carried on.
  • Like others, it limited my dictation to the provided text box. I had to keep that browser window open to dictate in it at all times and then copy and paste my content to the place I wanted it. Bummer.
  • I also found this application to have below-average voice tracking, even with some of the less complex words.
  • It’s missing some of the features that I consider important.

Speech Recognition Anywhere

Speech Recognition Anywhere - Voice Recognition Chrome Extensions

The last extension I looked at was Speech Recognition Anywhere. This one also runs on the Chrome voice recognition engine. “Never type again”, it says. Sounds pretty nice. What’s the catch? It costs $20 dollars. With the wealth of free applications available, I was skeptical. I installed the free trial version to see what all the fuss was about.

Pros:

  • One feature that stands out to me is that it allows me to move to the next field with my voice. That’s a new one!
  • It picked up my voice fairly reliably.

Cons:

  • The free version was pretty limited. Go figure.
  • One limitation I found was that it won’t allow me to switch tabs without having to reactivate it. That’s not good for my workflow. Looks like I’m keeping my $20.

And the winner is…

So after trying out a number of dictation programs, one of them stands out the most: VoiceIn Voice Typing. It’s certainly the most versatile, as it enables me to voice type on any page or program while in my browser. I can also activate it in 3 different ways! Thank you Dictanote for making this awesome Chrome extension! This is going to make my life so much easier. Hopefully this run-through helps in your own search for that perfect dictation program. I know there are many others out there, and I probably will try some more, but for now VoiceIn seems like the way to go. Send me your favorite side love to review them as well! Happy dictating, friends!

Now how do I stop this thing?  Oooh click the button! 🙂

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

More about the Author

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Monica Pitts

Monica is the creative force and founder of MayeCreate. She has a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture with an emphasis in Economics, Education and Plant Science from the University of Missouri. Monica possesses a rare combination of design savvy and technological know-how. Her clients know this quite well. Her passion for making friends and helping businesses grow gives her the skills she needs to make sure that each client, or friend, gets the attention and service he or she deserves.

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