First spotted by Mary Jo Foley, Microsoft has started allowing Windows developers to build apps for Windows 8, Windows 8.1 and Windows RT that take in speech input through the Bing Speech Recognition Control. In order for it to work with an app, a developer first has to register their app through Windows Azure. The speech recognition service is free up to the first 500,000 API calls. After that, a developer will have to pay up for usage.
It’s a part of Microsoft’s ongoing push to get developers to hook into its Bing APIs when building their apps. Microsoft is clearly investing in its Bing speech recognition tech, which powers search for the Xbox One’s Kinect and other Microsoft devices. The major advantage to using the Bing API is that Microsoft manages the voice recognition processing on their back-end, which means that as Microsoft refines its speech recognition system, the benefits trickle down to third-party apps.
Of course, whether or not developers are eager to jump at the chance to give Microsoft more money for the ability to add speech recognition to their applications is still an open question.
Blair Hanley Frank is GeekWire’s Bay Area Correspondent. He has also worked for Macworld, PCWorld and TechHive. He can be found on Twitter @belril.