Hong Kong-based voice recognition firm InfoTalk has licensed its software to the China Internet Network Information Centre (CNNIC), the mainland's Internet registrar. CNNIC, better known as the source of semi-annual reports on the size of China's Web audience, offers a keyword service that until recently could only be accessed by typing words on a keyboard. Since May, InfoTalk spokesman Billy Yeung said, CNNIC had been offering software downloads that allowed computer users to access keyword sites via a microphones attached to their computers. Keywords have been pitched by registrars all over the world as a way of reaching Internet consumers who cannot remember Web addresses. The idea is that Internet surfers can reach the Hong Kong government site by typing something like 'Hong Kong government' rather than 'info.gov.hk.' By licensing InfoTalk's voice recognition software, CNNIC hopes to allow users to simply say the keyword in Mandarin. The request is then compressed in 'wav' file format, sent to CNNIC servers and resolved into a Web address, Mr Yeung said. Some industry observers believe that voice navigation will become more common as Internet access spreads and as more mobile phones and handheld computers gain access to wireless data. Mr Yeung said CNNIC may be the first InfoTalk customer to use the firm's voice recognition software for Internet navigation. Elsewhere in the world, dozens of companies have produced voice-recognition software aimed at everything from Web navigation to PC control and home appliance operation, much of it designed for use by those with physical handicaps. InfoTalk is based in Hong Kong but does some of its software research in Singapore.