Graph Search’s launch was a much talked about event and its implications on the future of social media has spawned much debate over its merits and quirks. Love it or hate it, Graph Search will be hitting everyone’s Facebook soon. Interestingly, it looks like only the desktop web version of Graph Search will be making waves.
What about mobile? Well, the thing about mobile is that it has got a teeny tiny keyboard to mash letters in. For a service exceedingly reliant on natural language, Graph Search queries will be a pain to do using mobile. Who really wants to type “friends of friends who like knitting and who live in Paris, France” using a mobile keyboard?
Since mobile typing hasn’t evolved tactically, tech titans such as Apple and Google found a way to circumvent those issues by introducing speech recognition software. Siri and Google Now are perfectly capable of doing mobile computing for you with just a simple spoken command. Why then couldn’t Facebook implement a similar feature? TechCrunch has outlined the main impediments regarding Graph Search’s mobile integration. A summary of the incredibly insightful post is found below.
Speech Recognition Cost
Currently, Facebook doesn’t HAVE a speech recognition tool. Before it can start processing searches using speech, it needs to have a processor to begin with. Since it doesn’t have that service yet, Facebook would either have to do it the Apple way or the Google way. Apple bought Nuance to license its speech recognition technology for its own. On the other hand, Google chose to develop its own speech recognition software. Whichever method Facebook chooses, it has to do it quick or Apple and Google will leave it eating dust.
Facebook is a social network using names. Proper nouns. Words not found in the dictionary. While speech recognition is a breeze for words found in the dictionary, it will be a nightmare for Facebook to make software capable of recognizing names.
Graph Search is meant to be utilized by using natural language. Syntax and grammar then have a huge impact on future speech recognition and processing to be done. The same sentence can have different meanings and different sentences can have the same meaning. To distinguish one from the other, Facebook will really need to step up to the plate to provide a speech recognition software for that.
Since it’s the top network worldwide, Facebook is of course host to most of the world’s languages. Even if Graph Search is designed to run in English, the different accents for English alone would also be difficult for speech software to recognize.
From the above obstacles, seems like Graph Search won’t be making a mobile debut anytime soon. In the meantime, we’d love to hear your suggestions on how Facebook can incorporate speech recognition into its impressive arsenal.