You can use Speech Recognition to dictate words into word-processing programs, to fill out online forms in a web browser, or to type an email in Outlook/ThunderBird. You can also use Speech Recognition to edit text on your computer. As we mentioned, it is by defaul tailored to suite an American accent, but with training, you can make it fairly accurate. It will not become a replacement for your secretary but will surely help you reply to your mails at the end of a hectic day.
But, before you get really excited about WSR and think of firing your PA in the recession-hit economy, remember that it works well only when used with a good microphone. We gave it a spin using the standard microphone that comes bundled with laptops and found ourselves shouting out loud and still getting weird responses. When we tried speaking softly, WSR replied “Did you say something?” “Please speak in English.” “Are you Human?”. Ok. Not the last one.
However performance with microphones was acceptable and when tried with a Bluetooth headset (The one that came free with your new mobile phone in some festive offer), it seemed to work fine almost all of the time including dictation, albeit after a little training. Avoid cheaper microphones since they tend to pick up a lot of background noise and hissing.