Google Debuts Voice Search App for iPhone users that don’t like to type

November 14, 2008

Don’t type at the speed of light or would just rather not bother? Help is on the way from Google. The big G has rolled out a new Apple iPhone application – mobile search application V2 – that allows users to search by voice, rather than doing any typing.

The way the application works is rather straightforward, considering the amazing technology required to make it happen. An Apple iPhone user merely opens the app and asks a question. That information is then converted into a digital file and sent to Google’s servers, which determine the critical words of the query, much like any any online search query. The trick is getting the speech to words part to parse correctly. Once or should I say ‘if’ those words are identified correctly, the query is passed along to Google’s search servers and an answer is returned out to the iPhone user.

No questions appear to be off-limits with the Google voice app but don’t expect perfect accuracy in the results.  Voice Search works best for North American English accents and depends on clarity of speaking and the ease or complexity of the query.  Other languages are supposed to be supported soon. The results will include both general results from the world wide web and also local results based on the user’s location determined using the iPhone GPS functionality – in case you are looking for the nearest pizza parlor, for example.

The app is also smart enough to distinguish the method of search entry by using the iPhone accelerometer. It know when you put the phone next to your face for voice recognition versus keyboard entry. Since Google app can also search for your contacts, you can use the feature to lookup your contact by voice. (but the dial, requires manual clicking).

New York Times’ John Markoff reports that Google’s application is more reliable than Yahoo’s oneSearch with Voice service yet the portion of accurate results is still far from 100%. The newspaper is also reporting that the search by voice app will be available in the Apple iTunes store for download today. Support for Android and Blackberry will happen in the coming months.  It’s perhaps a big step to someday being able to talk to all our devices without lifting a finger, so to speak.


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