Google announced on Tuesday a new iPhone application that allows you to make location based searches just by speaking a question into your iPhone. Your spoken question, “Where is the nearest Best Buy?” for example, is sent to Google’s server as a digital file and processed by Google’s server side voice recognition software. The converted query is then forwarded to Google’s search engine and the results are sent back to the handset, supposedly within seconds. Excellent! This is not a new concept as Microsoft already has its TellMe service, Yahoo has OneSearch and Nuance is in the process of developing its own Open Voice Search. What is interesting is Google’s choice of the iPhone and not Android for its launch platform which combines the iPhone, currently still the best selling handset in the US, with the world’s most popular search engine. Talk about bringing voice search to a large audience. The Google Mobile App with the new voice search is available now from the App store. Just to warn you, the voice search only supports U.S. English and only works with the iPhone. Sorry iPod Touch users, you need a microphone for this to work! If any of you iPhone owners out there test out the new Google voice search, give us a shout in the comments and let us know how it works for you. Hit the jump for a Google Video explaining the service.
Nuance, the company behind Dragon Naturally Speaking, is developing a new mobile product called Open Voice Search. Similar to Vlingo and Microsoft’s TellMe, Open Voice Search allows users to interact with their phone through voice commands. This isn’t the archaic “Say a Command” voice commands that we know and love. In one application of the technology, Open Voice Search allows users to search the Internet by speaking into their phone. The Open Voice Search program transmits the spoken phrase to Nuance’s voice recognition servers which, in turn, translate the voice signal into text. The text string is submitted to an unnamed search engine (Google?) and the search results are then sent back to the handset as a list of web results. Excellent! Nuance recently demoed its new technology with two unreleased handsets, one for T-Mobile and one for Verizon Wireless. In the T-Mobile demonstration, a Samsung handset was used to access Madonna ringtones via voice commands while the Verizon Wireless handset utilized spoken commands to retrieve driving directions from VZ Navigator. Nuance would not confirm contracts with either carrier but it probably wouldn’t be demoing technology on a carrier-branded handset if there wasn’t some type of agreement at least in the works. Consider the demo an indirect announcement of some slick new handsets that will, in some shape and form, integrate this Open Voice Search technology.
[via RCR Wireless]