Ever wonder how to pronounce a particularly challenging word? You’re in luck: Google today announced that it’s rolling out a new “experimental” tool in mobile Search that lets you practice word pronunciations without leaving the results page. Coinciding with its launch, Google this morning added images to its English dictionary and translation features to help users better understand the meaning of words.
The pronunciation feature — which is rolling out to American English today, with Spanish soon to follow –lets you practice saying specific words into your phone’s microphone. You’ll receive feedback on what, if anything, can be adjusted in your pronunciation.
Google says that the underlying speech recognition tech processes spoken words by separating them into individual soundbites before cross-referencing your pronunciation with the pronunciation it expects. For example, if you’re practicing how to say “asterisk,” it spots mistakes in pronunciation like “rict” instead of “uhsk” in the last soundbite.
As for the new visuals, which also begin rolling out today in English across all language translations, they accompany translations of words and their definitions to provide additional context. This could be useful, Google says, with words that have multiple meanings like “seal” or words like “avocado” that aren’t commonly used in all languages or regions. Only nouns are supported initially, but Google plans to expand from there.
Google says it plans to expand the features to more languages, accents, and regions in the future.
“People around the world come to Search to ask questions related to language, like looking up the definition of a word or double checking the pronunciation of a word in another language,” wrote Google Search senior product manager Tal Snir. “We hope these new features give you a creative, more effective way to practice, visualize and remember new words.”