Companies are Turning to Reddit to Get Accent Samples

By: Joey Haar - Aug 18, 2016
References: appen & theverge
Google has enlisted Appen, a third-party linguistic research company, to collect a database of accent samples that will ultimately improve the accent-recognition software used in the company's voice-recognition systems.

Google's voice-recognition system is powerful for people with neutral accents, but many people throughout North America and Europe have speech styles that stray from the "network newscaster" diction. To improve this blind spot in the accent-recognition software, Appen has gone to where real people use the internet, such as the subreddits of giant online forum Reddit. On these subreddits, such as /r/WorkOnline (a freelance work forum,) Appen offers small sums for users from various regions to record 2,000 3-5 second phrases. Phrases include Google-specific terms like "OK, Google" or "Hey Google," as well as more general search terms like "How to make birthday cake."