Nuance has released Dragon Dictate for Mac 2.0, the new and renamed version of the MacSpeech Dictate speech recognition program that lets you use voice commands to navigate your Mac’s interface and create documents.
According to Nuance, Dragon Dictate 2.0 is faster and more accurate than MacSpeech Dictate 1.5. Dragon Dictate is based on the same software engine used by Dragon 11 for the PC. But the engine, according to Nuance product marketing manager Kristen Wylie, is not just ported over from the PC. “It was designed from the ground up to work on a Mac,” said Wylie during a product demo.
Dragon Dictate 2.0 features expanded voice navigation, where you can control the Mac’s cursor and mouse actions using your voice. The new MouseGrid is one key feature to move the cursor. When activated, MouseGrid divides your screen into eight numbered sections on screen; you then say the number that corresponds to the section you want to move to. MouseGrid then divides the section you picked into eight smaller, numbered sections, and selecting a section brings your cursor even closer to your desired location. You can also move the cursor with directional commands, such as “move left two inches” (measurements can be stated as points, centimetres, or inches).
The new Dragon Voice Shortcuts for Search feature lets you perform a search on the web or on your Mac from any application. For example, if you are writing a letter in Pages, and you need to quickly check the scientific name for the fossa, you can say “Search Google for fossa” and then a Google search for “fossa” will be performed in your web browser, while you are still working in Pages. Searches can be performed using Bing, Google, Yahoo, and Spotlight. Shortcuts for Search also works for Mail.app, but they do not work in other mail applications, like Entourage, Postbox, and others.
Dragon Dictate 2.0 also has several new features for creating documents. Nuance says the new editing commands are smarter and easier to use. A new proofreader command uses Mac OS X’s text-to-speech support to read back text you’ve just dictated. And new punctuation commands make it easier to use surrounding punctuation with commands like, “Put quotes around [text].”
A new audio sources setting allows for multiple microphone configurations. For example, you can have one configuration for a wired mic, and another for a Bluetooth mic, and switching between the two takes a few simple clicks.
Dragon Dictate 2.0 requires Mac OS X 10.6 and an Intel-based Mac.
Boxed versions of Dragon Dictate 2.0 are available from 1 October for $250 with a wired headset (it’s also available with a Bluetooth headset for $350 or no headset for $220), and a download-only version is available now for $220. For a limited time, MacSpeech Dictate customers can upgrade to Dragon Dictate 2.0 for $69 or $179 with the Bluetooth headset.