Google Brings Search-by-Voice to the Apple iPhone
Article by George Norman
On 14 Nov 2008
Are you bored with having to type in a query into the Google search engine? Google knows you are fed up with getting your iPhone out and typing, when you could simply utter the words and the specially crafted software will automatically initiate the search process. The reasoning behind this new feature seems to be a simple one: if applications like Midomi and Shazam can identify a tune when you put the iPhone next to the speakers, why couldn’t Google search become as simple as telling the iPhone what you want to look for.

The process will go something like this. When you want to search for something, let’s say software, all you have to do is get out your iPhone and utter the word “software”. Specially crafted software from Google will convert your words to a digital file, upload it to Google’s servers, analyze the query and send you an adequate response. The example presented here is a simple one; Google claims you could ask the software any question, such as “Where can I get something to eat?” or “What is the tallest building in the world”, and you will be provided with an answer in the shortest amount of time possible (which could be seconds on a good wireless connection).


Voice recognition software pioneer Raj Reddy from Carnegie Mellon comments: “Whatever they introduce now, it will greatly increase in accuracy in three or six months. It’s important to understand that machine recognition will never be perfect. The question is, How close can they come to human performance?”

There is one other great thing that the search-by-voice app has to offer: the possibility to access contact data by voice. Just pick up the iPhone, get it close to your face and speak out a contact’s name; the software will identify said contact and display the results. For the time being, the option to dial-by-voice is not available, you still have to push the call button.

Tags: Apple, iPhone, Google
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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