According to Google’s announcement, “Cloud Speech API is built on the core technology that powers speech recognition for other Google products (e.g., Google Search, Google Now, Google Assistant), but has been adapted to better fit the needs of Google Cloud customers. Cloud Speech API is one of several pre-trained machine-learning models available for common tasks like video analysis, image analysis, text analysis and dynamic translation.”
As Google points out, the Cloud Speech API was actually launched last year where it existed as an open beta, but clearly over the year Google has made some improvements and changes to it based on feedback from developers. This has resulted in improved transcription accuracy for long-form audio, faster processing of about 3x faster than the previous version, and it also now supports more file formats such as WAV, Opus, and Speex.
For end-users this probably won’t affect you too much, but like we said with developers now be able to access the API (for a fee), you can expect that some apps will want to take advantage of it.