New version of Google Mobile App will Support Voice Searching [Updated]

Google's Voice App for the iPhone

We had reported yesterday about the new search results pages which makes Google Search a lot easier to use on the iPhone.

But looks like Google has even bigger plans on how we should conduct search on the iPhone.

According to New York Times, Google will be releasing a new iPhone application that will support voice searching, allowing iPhone users to say what they want to search in their iPhone’s microphone and see the results of the query on iPhone’s Safari browser.

John Markoff of New York Times was the first to report the breaking news. As per Markoff, iPhone users will be able to use the iPhone app to ask virtually any question like “Where’s the nearest Starbucks?” or “How tall is Mount Everest?” or to get restaurant recommendations.

He explains:

"The sound is converted to a digital file and sent to Google’s servers, which try to determine the words spoken and pass them along to the Google search engine.

The search results, which may be displayed in just seconds on a fast wireless network, will at times include local information, taking advantage of iPhone features that let it determine its location."

Google has built the iPhone app based on the experience and data it has collected through its GOOG-411 mobile service which allows users to ask for business phone and address information.

Markoff also points out:

"An intriguing part of the overall design of the service was contributed
by a Google researcher in London, who found a way to use the iPhone
accelerometer — the device that senses how the phone is held — to set
the software to “listen” mode when the phone is raised to the user’s

Though I was excited to hear about the Google’s new app I am also skeptical about it.

I am not too sure if it is going to be more convenient than typing out the search query. It will probably depend on the accuracy of the voice recognition technology.

Raj Reddy, an artificial intelligence researcher at Carnegie Mellon University who has done pioneering work in voice recognition points out:

“It’s important to understand that machine recognition will never be perfect”.

However, he believes that Google’s advantage in this field is its ability to store and analyze
vast amounts of data. He added:

“Whatever they introduce now, it will greatly
increase in accuracy in three or six months.”

So it looks like just like the Say Who Voice Dialer application that we had reviewed recently; Google’s iPhone app will also need network connectivity for it to work.

As per Markoff Google’s new iPhone application will be available in the App Store today. We will keep you posted as soon as we get any more details so stay tuned here at iPhone Hacks.

Google Engineers seem to love the iPhone platform, they had released new search results pages which makes Google Search a lot easier to use this week and iPhone firmware 2.2 beta 2 has also revealed that we could see Google Street View along with walking and public transportation routes as
part of directions in Google Maps application
coming to the iPhone.

Update (Nov 15th, 2008):

Google will not be launching a new iPhone app for voice search as speculated earlier instead the feature will be introduced in the new version of Google’s Mobile app. The update is still not able. However, you can checkout the demo video below of how it works:

Let us know your thoughts on Google’s upcoming App.

Thanks David for the tip!

[via New York Times]

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