Voice Recognition Options for Mac & Windows - Google vs Microsoft vs Apple vs Dragon

28 July, 2017

Compare Google Voice Typing vs Apple Dictation vs Microsoft Dictate Garage Office Add-in vs Nuance Dragon for Windows and Mac


**UPDATE 2019** AWS, Amazon Web Services, throw their hat in the ring for automatic speech-to-text with their AWS Transcribe service. We offer a service for clients worldwide to convert recorded voice to text, click the image below for more details:

Fast Cheap Voice-to-Text Speech-to-Text for Podcast Meeting Interview Transcription

In this day and age of digital technology disruption it only makes sense to see the major tech giants look towards voice recognition to start to replace that clunky, push button, major taker of space on your laptop ... your keyboard. The thing we hammer daily and have done since its invention back in 1868, yes 1868, 149 years ago when Christopher Latham Sholes patented the QWERTY typewriter that we commonly use today. Long overdue for some kind of digital disruption as you can see.

What is voice recognition? Simply speaking, your spoken voice is automatically converted to text, as you speak. There are now a number of solutions that can do this, they range in features and cost but on the whole accuracy is high, speed is fast and cost varies from free to moderately expensive. 

In this post we are going to look at the major tech giants offerings as well as the stalwart of the voice recognition world a company called Nuance who make a product you may have heard of called Dragon. Nuance have been developing speech recognition software since 1997 with their first release of NaturallySpeaking for Windows. Dragon is now available from Nuance for both Windows and Mac.

Google Voice Typing - Free Speech Recognition Google Voice Typing 

  • Mac & Windows
  • Free $0
  • Only works with Google Docs and Google Slides
  • Extensive list of supported languages including the following English accents: Australian, UK, US, Canada, India, Ireland, New Zealand, Phillipines and South Africa
  • No software to install, works via your Chrome web browser 
  • Extensive range of voice commands - Google Voice Typing Setup & Voice Commands
  • Can not convert recorded speech to text, real time spoken voice only
  • Internet connection required

Apple OS X Dictation - Free Voice Speech Recognition for Apple Mac Apple OS X Dictation

  • Apple Mac only (obviously)
  • Free - $0
  • No internet connection required (with Enhanced Dictation enabled, just download a local language dictionary file)
  • Large list of supported languages including the following English accents: Australian, UK, US and Canada
  • Enables voice to text anywhere you would normally type (e.g. Word, Pages, Skype, TextEdit etc).
  • Can not convert recorded speech to text, real time spoken voice only

Dictation in OS X can be enabled in the System Settings. For offline use you will need to enable Enhanced Dictation:

Mac OS X Dictation - Free Voice to Text - Voice Recognition - Speech Recognition for Apple Mac

Microsoft Dictate - Office Voice Speech Recognition Plugin for Office Microsoft Dictate (Garage Project) - Microsoft Office Add-in

  • Windows only (Windows 8 and above)
  • Free - $0
  • Requires Office 2013 or Office 2016 (including Office 365 install)
  • Real time voice to text in Microsoft Word, Outlook and PowerPoint
  • Will convert spoken voice to foreign language (e.g. speak English and Microsoft Dictate will transcribe in French, very cool)
  • Automated punctuation, no need to say "comma", "full stop" etc
  • Can not convert recorded speech to text, real time spoken voice only

Dragon for Windows - Dragon for Mac - Voice Speech Recognition Australia Nuance Dragon for Windows (formerly known as NaturallySpeaking) and Dragon for Mac (formerly known as MacSpeech Dictate)

  • Windows & Mac versions available
  • From AU$300 upwards depending on version
  • Can convert from recorded voice
  • Advanced learning. Dragon builds a profile of the way you speak and learns over time.
  • Is widely used in the legal and medical professions to convert voice-to-text
  • The goto solution for businesses

Ok so yes we have shown you the free versions from the big hitters but the old faithful when it comes to voice recognition is Dragon from Nuance. It has been around for years, it just gets better and better with every release and is packed full of features and functions to justify its cost over the other options listed here. But, we do want to highlight that Apple, Google and now Microsoft all have a vested interest in voice recognition. Dragons days may be numbered but for now it remains the pick of the bunch for day to day voice recognition.





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