Google’s native iPhone application used to be known as something of a redundant app. You could just as easily open your browser and point to Google’s mobile web portal to access most of the features available through the Google Mobile iPhone app.
That all changed with Google’s latest update to Google Mobile, enabling Voice Search.
Without a physical keyboard, voice-based searches have gained traction as the fastest, safest, and most convenient way to dial contacts. Google realized this and endowed their iPhone app with voice recognition capabilities. But, does it work as advertised?
Start Google Mobile and you’re greeted by a prompt asking to let Google Mobile use your location data to determine your position. Bring the iPhone or iPhone 3G to your ear, wait for the “beep” (it’s more like a “beep-boop”), and start speaking your search query. Google Mobile sends your voice snippet to its servers for analysis and returns relevant search results.
This is where Google Mobile shines.
Even with constant background noise (like road hum, wind, Starbucks, etc. ) Google Mobile was able to recognize enunciated search phrases and returned accurate search results with ease. Google knows how to make a killer product and it seems they did their homework on voice recognition. Searches results are formatted to fit on the iPhone’s screen, and search results for businesses even list the nearest locations.
Google Mobile and its newfound Voice Search capability really shine when used behind the wheel. Rather than looking up nearby businesses with Google Maps, the new Google Mobile allows you to safely pick up the iPhone, speak a search query, and wait for Google to return with a list of nearby businesses. A simple tap on the nearest business (“Get Directions” or “Show Map”) whisks you away to Google Maps, from which you can continue navigating.
It would be great to see Google’s voice recognition engine used to power other nifty applications and services, but we’ll have to wait an see what Google does. In the meantime, start having fun with Google Mobile!