Google’s Voice-Enabled iPhone App: The More You Search, the More Popular You Look

Back in the early days of mobile, I once saw someone walking around proudly talking into a cellphone (the size of a toaster, naturally). Much to his chagrin and my amusement, it rang. Now you too can walk around talking into your phone to no one at all (though admittedly for less lame reasons)! Google’s voice-enabled iPhone search, while coming later than Microsoft’s TellMe service or Yahoo’s oneSearch capability, was launched to the iPhone Apps Store today, though it was earlier announced that it would come out last Friday.

Users speak regularly into the phone with their query, Google’s servers process the speech and convert it to text where it is sent to search servers, and then the results are returned to the users on his or her iPhone, often taking advantage of the iPhone’s location-determining functionality.

The New York Times
reports that “The Google system is far from perfect, and it can return queries that appear as gibberish. Google executives declined to estimate how often the service gets it right, but they said they believed it was easily accurate enough to be useful to people who wanted to avoid tapping out their queries on the iPhone’s touch-screen keyboard.”

This move could end up spelling big business through advertisements, particularly when used for location-based questions.