When the Google Mobile app first launched for the iPhone, some users were found little use to the application that wasn’t already a part of the search bar in Safari.
Given that Google was already the default search engine in the iPhone browser, the Google Mobile app didn’t introduce enough new functionality to the device. That all changed, however, with the latest version of the application that now supports voice recognition.
Rather than just typing in a web search, users now have the option to put the iPhone up against their face, as if on a call, and speaking the search terms. Brief tests of this feature have yielded mostly positive results, making us think twice before launching Safari just for a search.
Speaking the words “gas station” even yield local addresses, as the app makes use of the iPhone’s location based services. The application was even able to make decipher expectedly difficult terms into the correct search – for example, we spoke out loud the title of Valve’s new shooter, Left 4 Dead, and Google successfully decided that the middle search term should be a “4” rather than “for.”
Finding a cup of overpriced coffee, however, proved to be a little bit more difficult. When we told the app to find “Starbucks,” it instead heard “are box” and promptly ran a search for that. Other times the application would have difficulty with the tilt sensor and left the audio pick up enabled for longer than needed, forcing us to cancel the search.
We spoke to the Google Mobile app in its preferred North American English accent, and for the most part, the voice recognition now justifies launching a separate app just for web search. All found results when clicked still launch in Safari, however, making this an exceptionally fancy search bar.
Perhaps most interesting of all is that such a feature is available on the iPhone before on Android. iPhone users can grab it on iTunes App Store here.