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Thursday, November 04, 2004
The Search Engine That Tells You Where To Go, Literally

AN Edinburgh computer speech technology firm has launched what it claims is the first talking search engine.

CEC Systems based its Speegle search engine on the look of Google and its own PanaVox computer speech technology.

While speaking-website technology is available on broadband, no mechanism exists to hear web content on 56k modems. Newsfeeds from the BBC, the New York Times, Reuters and MSN are heard in a Scottish accent.

Now, when I read that, as well as Search Engine Lowdown's Andy Beal's post on Speegle, where he described it as "the Sean Connery of Search Engines", I expected a humor search engine, where you search for something, say, pants, and a Scottish voice yells out, "Royl mahn warh keelts!" (c'mon, you can figure out what that says).

Instead, I found an interesting technology, where the site reads you back regular Google search results in a mostly clear voice that doesn't sound very Scottish at all. Speegle is actually a pretty decent tool for the visually impaired.

Instead of the knee-jerk reaction we know Google is going to have in the next few days to send a cease-and-desist order (especially with the Google-alike logo), maybe Google can realize that Speegle actually showcases some solid-working tech that assists people with disabilities. I'm sure Google can make a deal with them that in return for not suing the pants off of them (which is certainly in their right), they move the site to a Google domain ( and make it the official Google site for the hearing impaired. Google gets a service that helps their customers and makes them look good, and CEC gets the great publicity that comes from being involved with anything Google. I'm hoping that's what happens.

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