In a post to its official blog that's sure to excite users across the globe, Google has just announced that Voice Search is now available in thirteen new languages. The list of newly included languages, which range from Basque to Swedish, brings the total number of supported tongues up to 42.

In the post, Product Manager Bertrand Damiba explains just what it takes to add a new language to Voice Search – first and foremost, Google must collect "hundreds of thousands of utterances" from volunteers to bring speech recognition up to par.

While this sounds easy enough, Google engineers also face challenges in adding support for new languages – Damiba explains that languages that don't follow predictable pronunciation rules (like Swedish) require that Google recruit native speakers to pronounce thousands of individual words.

This process has allowed Google to build a machine learning system that can accurately predict how other words will be pronounced when it comes time for Search to recognize user input.

Fascinating behind-the-scenes processes aside, here's the full list of newly-supported languages:

  • Basque
  • Bulgarian
  • Catalan
  • European Portuguese
  • Finnish
  • Galician
  • Hungarian
  • Icelandic
  • Norwegian
  • Romanian
  • Serbian
  • Slovak
  • Swedish

Damiba's post goes on to say that the update has already begun rolling out to users, and will finish up within about a week. Users running Android 2.2 or later can simply tap the microphone icon on their Google Search widget to start searching, while others will need to download the Voice Search app from Google's Play Store. To see the original post, just click through the link below.

Source: Google Blog