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October 30, 2012

Enhanced Google Voice Search for iOS

Google's search app for iOS has always included voice search. Now iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad users can try Google's updated voice search, 5 months after the Android Jelly Bean launch. Just install the latest version of the Google Search app.

The original voice search feature was just another way to enter a query. The new version shows instant answers and a robotic voice reads them for you. Another improvement is that your words are displayed as you speak, so you don't have to wait so much.




Google's voice search is more interactive and Google does a better job at answering simple questions, but it doesn't integrate with the operating system like Google Search for Android or Siri. You can't use it to launch apps, play music, check your calendar or add an alarm, but it's great for weather forecasts, sports scores, definitions, unit conversions, simple calculations, facts. Try "play Rihanna Diamonds video" and the video starts playing, "cat pics" returns image search results, "directions to Los Angeles" shows Google Maps directions.


It's hard to beat Siri because Apple's iOS feature is easier to access and it integrates with the built-in apps. Siri is also conversational, it remembers things and doesn't require some specific keywords in a certain order. For example, you can ask Siri [is it cold outside?], [will it rain should I get my umbrella tomorrow?] and you get accurate answers. Google doesn't answer the second question and only shows the current temperature for the first question. Google's voice is less robotic, Google supports more languages than Siri, local search results are not limited to a few countries and Knowledge Graph results constantly get better. Still, Siri feels more like a voice assistant, while Google Voice Search is another way to search the Web and get impersonal answers from Google. Understanding the query continues to be a difficult task.

{ via Google Blog }

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