Apple’s Siri and Nuance-powered “Assistant” voice control feature expected to launch with iOS 5 has hardly been a secret, and now MacRumors has commissioned a video mock-up of the service based on what we know so far. The video shows, for example, that a user might be able to hold down the home button to activate the application and speak a command, not unlike Apple’s simple voice controls today. Assistant should step today’s capabilities up quite a bit, however. The service will likely scour your phone’s contents or the web to deliver results, and it may even be capable of replying to you; in the MacRumors video, Assistant asks the user if he would like to text a contact’s mobile or work number. We expect to hear more about Assistant during Apple’s iPhone event on October 4th. Read on for the full video. More →
Google on Tuesday unveiled several tweaks to its core search product, including the ability to search by voice or image. Image-based searching has been around for quite a while now, but Google intends to popularize the alternative search method by supporting it right from within the main Google Images search engine. Users can initiate searches using images hosted on the Web, or they can upload images from a PC to start a search. Searches initiated by a photo will return both text and image-based results. The second major feature announced on Tuesday might have slightly less utility among the majority of users — voice search for Google’s desktop site. The service works just like Google’s mobile voice-based search service, but it is integrated with the company’s desktop search engine. We’re not sure what benefit voice-based desktop searches provide for the typical user, but the feature is live and ready to try in the latest version of Google’s Chrome browser. Hit the break for videos highlighting Google’s new voice and image-based search services. More →
Microsoft’s own Xbox Live homepage recently leaked some new details that we should be hearing about shortly at its annual E3 press conference in Los Angeles. According to the website, which appears to have been pulled, Microsoft will introduce Voice Search within a newly redesigned Xbox Live user interface and preview the ever-popular Halo francise’s new release, Halo 4. The website also mentioned a possible Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary edition and new titles such as Kinect Sports Season 2 and Dance Central 2. We won’t have long to wait — Microsoft’s press conference is set to kick off at 9:00 a.m. Pacific / 12:00 p.m. Eastern. More →
It looks as though Google may be testing a voice search feature for its desktop search homepage. According to blog Search Engine Roundtable, several users have begun seeing the oh-so-familiar microphone icon in the search box on google.com — we can confirm that we have seen it on our Google home page as well. The icon will look extremely familiar to those Android users out there, as voice search has been an operating system staple for nearly a year now. No word on when/if this feature will roll out to the masses. More →
Good news for Android users situated in Canada and and 11 Western European nations, as today Google announced the immediate availability of its free Google Maps Navigation application in Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and Switzerland. To get Google Maps Navigation 4.2 you’ll need to live in the aforementioned countries and have an Android phone running 1.6 and up. Also announced by Google was the addition of support for French, German, Italian and Spanish for Google Voice Search. This update applies not only to Android, but BlackBerry and iPhone as well. No update to the application is needed to gain support for the additional languages, but if you’re the paranoid type you can grab the app at m.google.com or the iTunes App Store. More →
As part of its “DROID Does” advertising campaign, Verizon Wireless is teaming up with Google, Reuters and R/GA to take over Times Square in a promotion to showcase Google Voice search and the Motorola DROID, just like we reported previously. If you are in Manhattan for the craziness called Black Friday, stroll on down to Times Square and call 888-376-4336 to do a Google search by voice. Your query and local search results will then be displayed on either the Reuters sign or the NASDAQ sign for the world to see. Behind the scenes is a small farm of Motorola DROIDs that accept the incoming calls, process the Voice search and display the results on the big screens. Pretty cool! This promo has been up and running for a few select hours each day for the past few weeks but on Black Friday, the DROID will commandeer the displays for a full 20 hours. If you can’t be in NY on Friday, you can watch all the action via a streaming webcam feed. More →
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.