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Opera's fat lady singing?

http://msn-cnet.com.com/2100-1032_3-5178061.html

IMHO, I think that voice control hasn't taken off as of yet because it's quicker for advanced users to type than to speak (slow enough for voice recognition to understand), and most voice recognition software requires some advanced knowledge.

I think it's a wrong direction for Opera.

Walt
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

nah, its not a direction its just a feature.

Accessibility is a big thing, there are a surprisingly number of people with problems such as, for instance, arthritis making them unable to type, blindness, no arms etc etc

This is a Good Thing(tm) for those people.

The rest of us prolly wont care much, unless we are dumb enough to want to use a web browser in a car.

FullNameRequired
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

When it takes a significant amount of time and money, I think it's more than just a feature.  The accessibility part of it is worthwhile, but outside that arena, is the cost worth it?

They have successfully cloned IE, and have improved over the original.  But even though they have many nice things over what IE offers, they still haven't gained a great following.  I think that stems from the fact that a browser is a limited machine -- it just browses the Web and all the bells and whistles you can add don't really add that much to the product.

I think a good area for Opera to get into is creating reusable components for software developers.  I would love some COM/ActiveX component that would be analagous to MSHTML, but with a better interface.

Walt
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

"but outside that arena, is the cost worth it?"

<g> I personally suspect not.

OTOH as a marketing tool its not a bad plan..the biggest problem Opera have IMO is the vast range of browsers that are out there...mostly for free.

They need to fight that with quality (which I understand they have...never use them myself) and mind share.

The mind share is probably more important...and thats whats gained by this kind of feature....people _hear_ about them.

FullNameRequired
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

My guess is that Opera may be implementing neither speech-recognition or text-to-speech: it'll use these, but as libraries from 3rd parties.

Rather, Opera will be implementing X+V: e.g. the ability to parse VoiceXML.

VoiceXML isn't especially or only for PC users: it's for telephone users (you know: online banking, airline reservations, ...). But VXML is of interest to PC-based browsers too: partly because application writers (banks, airlines) don't want to develope two separate applications (one for voice and another for the web); and partly because multi-media may be better than voice-only (e.g. with a cellphone I might prefer to speak than type, but when I'm getting back lists of text then I'd prefer to read them than to hear them).

Christopher Wells
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

I suspect the reason Opera hasn't gained much of a following is because it doesn't work like other browsers.  Alt-d doesn't put focus on the address bar, F8 does.  Tab doesn't move through the links on a page, a does.  Why should I use Opera when I have to learn a whole new interaction style?

Eponymous
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Haha, I've been using Opera for about a year and was really annoyed about the whole alt-d thing... but not enough to look in help - thanks Eponymous

Jack of all
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

I used Opera as my primary browser up until Mozilla added tabbed browsing (completing ripping off Opera, but regardless), and memory became cheap enough that the bloat was irrelevant (though Opera 7 really pushed into bloat land).

.
Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Don't forget that Opera's most significant market share is actually as an embedded browser on things like phones. Voice support is a natural feature there.

Chris Tavares
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

I definitely *not* going to use this 'feature', at least not at home:

"Go to url somepornsite.com", "click on enter", "click on - yes I'm over 18", "click on gallery", "click on that pic of a busty babe with that dild... !!!", etc.. you get the picture ;-p

And my mother in law in the next room.

I'l stay with the mouse and the usual stream of soft clicks.

your address is never revealed
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Accessibility isn't an arena its a core competency.

Whilst you might think its confined to people who are already marginalised by some physical condition and attitude pretty much everyone needs some kind of help somewhere along the line.  Whether its the awkwardness of using a mouse and a keyboard or that getting older means you need to have the text bigger (and boy am I learning that).

Accessibility is fundamental to the UI.

That said, voice input is less accessible than voice output and there'd be greater benefit if more effort was put in to the attrocious UI of all browsers.

Simon Lucy
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

I used Opera back in the days of 5.x and early 6.x

I liked the fact that it was small and fast and I liked the over-all "look and feel".  But, at the time there were too many problems.

* Difficulty rendering many websites.  Opera's developers were too stuck on the idea of a "100% standards compliant browser" and couldn't/wouldn't recognize the basic reality that many millions of web pages are designed to a different standard (MS Internet Explorer).
* For a long time, Opera's developers steadfastly refused to implement a Password Manager, claiming it was a security risk.

So I switched to Mozilla, which did a better job rendering web pages, had a password manager and cost $39 less (i.e., Free).

The latest versions of Opera have fixed the problems mentioned above, but it seems like a classic case of "too little too late".  Mozilla's Firefox is fast, has pretty much all the features I need and as an added bonus, it's not only free, it's open source.

Bottom line, unless you really need the voice recognition feature, there's no good reason to spend $39 on Opera.

Philadelphia Lesbian Mafia
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

alt + d doesn't work in Netscape either. You have to use CTRL+L.

Stephen Jones
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Last time i checked, they had problems with Javascript -
(now that was some time ago)

Now Javascript is half the story - doing those built in DOM objects with the same set of properties, behavior as IE -

... well, i guess they don't care about that, because tricky scripts are probably done as shockwaves, nowadays.

Michael Moser
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

ALT-D!  Finally, I know the damn IE equivalent to Control-L (which I was using in IE anyhow because it opens the "Open Location" dialog which is almost as good as going to the address bar)

As for voice control of a browser, it could be useful if they can pull it off well.  Imagine, if you will, talking to your cellphone browser...

Opera, google for "vegetarian restraunts in napa valley". <waits for results>
Find link "Buddha Sun Palace".  Go.<waits for page load>
Find link "Driving Directions".  Go.<waits for page load>

On the desktop, voice control is a non-starter, but it makes a lot of sense for cellphones.

Richard P
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Funny,  a situation came up at work recently where this would have been handy.  A woman had broken her finger, a metacarpal bone in her hand, actually, and had her entire hand in a cast.  Someone suggested voice recognition would help, but I, being the smart ass that I am, pointed out that her thick Boston accent would pose problems, as "market" becomes "maaket".

GML
Wednesday, March 24, 2004

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