Nuance, the folks behind Dragon voice recognition, and of course the Swype keyboard, has announced a new version of Swype beta, complete with a new feature you'll want to check out. They are calling it Living Language, and it takes auto correction and word prediction to a new level with crowd sourced data.
First, let's talk about a few other important, but not quite as flashy, updates to Swype. The correction engine has gotten an upgrade, and the new Smart Editor now analyzes your entire sentence, flagging any errors for correction or suggesting the best substitution based on the context of what you're saying, not just the word order. And now, it can do it in 12 new languages, including Catalan, Croatian, Czech, Greek, Hebrew, Malay, Romanian, Slovak, Turkish, Thai, Vietnamese, and Ukrainian. I'm not a keyboard engineer, and I didn't stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night, but I have a feeling building a keyboard that is as complex as Swype for completely different character sets is no small feat. These features and upgrades won't get the glory a new way to personalize the auto correction and prediction experience will, but they are pretty damn important. Especially if it was your native language that was missing.
Those features tie in nicely with the new Living Language feature. How it works is that you can connect to Swype online through a service they're calling Swype Connect, and share your usage data to help improve prediction and auto correction. You can also elect to let Living Language auto update with new crowd sourced words. Languages are funny, and often times you need to learn by listening and talking -- Swype does, too. Yes, people will question how much privacy this gives up (and we imagine it's a good bit) but the service is opt-in both ways. You don't have to contribute or receive updates unless you ask to.
So how's it work? Well, I'm glad you asked. I'm been fiddling with it, and I think you'll like it. The Swyping works as well as it ever did, or possibly better -- I'm not the biggest Swyper out there -- and the prediction and auto correction seems to work as advertised. While I've not had a long time to let it learn from me, I can see a bit of improvement in just a few short days. It's certainly something you will want to try yourself, and you should. My takeaway from using it is that you don't necessarily need to use the swipe, err Swype feature to love this keyboard. I'm going to continue using it for a bit and see how it matches up to the competition.
It's becoming clear that there's two "killer" features a good Android keyboard must have -- Swyping, and a great prediction engine. Swype's new beta offers both. There's a lot of big competition in this space, and Swype is an excellent choice. Hit the break for a handful of screenshots and the press release. You can download Swype by visiting http://beta.swype.com.