Earlier this year, Nuance Communications purchased the New Hampshire-based company MacSpeech. With that acquisition comes a brand-new version of MacSpeech called Dragon Dictate 2.0 for Mac. With the name change comes improved accuracy, faster performance, new editing commands and the ability to move the mouse on the screen with voice commands using a grid system. In addition, Dragon Dictate can perform commands on your Mac like opening applications, Spotlight searches and performing browser tasks like Google searches.
The software ships with either a standard headset or a wireless Bluetooth headset depending on which package you purchase. If you’d like to use your own headset, you can purchase and download the software directly from Nuance (although they do recommend using one of recommended microphones). Setup was extremely easy involving about 5 minutes of time to train the software to your voice. From there you can just begin dictating and start to learn commands on an as needed basis.
The software performs as promised with extremely fast and accurate speech to text. You can work on your Mac in a relaxed, hands-free environment without being tethered to your keyboard. If you have limited typing skills or just an average typist, this application can be a tremendous boost to your productivity. Dragon Dictate for Mac will work with Apple applications including Mail, iChat, iCal, Pages, Safari and many third party vendors.
We think this software is terrific and will be using it as part of our daily workflow. For further reference, here is a great review by David Pogue of the New York Times who has been following speech to text on the Mac for many years.
Dragon Dictate requires an Intel-based Mac with Snow Leopard 10.6 (only) and an Internet connection for registration. The software will work with a variety of microphones, but it is best to use the Plantronics optimized microphone that ships with the product.
You can order Dragon Dictate for the Mac at the Amazon Store for $199.99 (ships with the wired microphone) or Dragon Dictate for Mac – with Bluetooth Headset for $299. Owners of the previous MacSpeech product can upgrade for a reasonable. $49.99.