Firefox to challenge Google's AI dominance in web browsing

Updated 2017-08-07 14:37:18 CGTN

Mozilla, the maker of Firefox web browser, has kicked off the test on a new function – making users able to search the web via voice rather than hand input.

This move is intended to arm Firefox to be more competitive with Google Chrome whose users are able to enter a search query with voice recognition on desktop since 2013.

The new function, dubbed "Voice Fill," can be tested in English-version Firefox on operating systems (OS) of Mac, Windows or Linux on Google, Yahoo and DuckDuckGo. It will be available for other websites later.

A few weeks ago, Mozilla launched its Common Voice Project, calling for the users to "donate" their recordings of talks to build an "open-source-code speech recognition engine" available to everyone.

The recordings from Voice Fill and Common Voice Project will help to further enhance the accuracy of voice recognition, said Andre Natal, speech engineer of Mozilla told CNBC in an interview.

Later this year, Mozilla will release the recording clips they collect from Common Voice Project. The voice recognition model will also be available to others at no charge, and eventually, Mozilla will launch a service that developers can utilize in their own applications, said Natal.

Mozilla initially tried to incorporate voice recognition technology into its Firefox OS voice assistant applied for phones. However, it changed the focus of Firefox OS to connected devices in 2016 and shut up the group of connected devices earlier this year.

Mozilla currently has five staff taking up voice research and a team of 30 on speech recognition technology which Mozilla plans to apply in languages other than English, according to Natal.

Mozilla launched the Firefox web browser early in 2002. Chris Beard, CEO of the company, is now working on getting people's attention back to this company with recent efforts to release Firefox Focus mobile browser and acquire Pocket, a read-it-later application.

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