Study: Talking to your smartphone is 3X faster than typing

For those talking to Siri instead of typing in your question on your mobile, it turns out you've made the right choice. Smartphone speech recognition software is not only three times faster than human typists, it’s also more accurate. 

A new study conducted by iSchool Associate Professor Jacob Wobbrock and colleagues at Stanford University and Baidu Inc. put the speech vs. typing competition to the test. They devised an experiment that pitted Baidu’s Deep Speech 2 cloud-based speech recognition software against 32 texters, ages 19 to 32, working the built-in keyboard on an Apple iPhone.

The subjects took turns typing or speaking about 100 phrases sourced from a standard library of everyday phrases used in text-based research – phrases such as “physics and chemistry are hard,” “have a good weekend” and “go out for some pizza and beer” – while the testing app recorded their times and accuracy rates. Half the subjects performed the task in English using the QWERTY keyboard; the other half conducted the test in their native Mandarin using iOS’ Pinyin keyboard.

The results were clear no matter the language. For English, speech recognition was three times faster than typing, and the error rate was 20.4 percent lower. In Mandarin Chinese, speech was 2.8 times faster, with an error rate 63.4 percent lower than typing.