Google ‘Voice Search’ hands-on verdict: Awesome

Posted by Rafe Needleman? from

The new voice-activated Google Mobile app for the iPhone is finally here. Whatever the reason for the delay, it was worth the wait. The search app knows when you bring the phone to your face to speak into it. It beeps, you talk, and it executes a Google search on what you said. (If you’re using a headset, you have to press a button. You can type in your queries, too, if you want.)

It is freakishly accurate. It’s not perfect, but it’s extremely good. Good enough to be used frequently, I’d say, although this review is based on only 15 minutes of experimentation.

I searched for names of people I knew, businesses nearby, airline information, and other miscellaneous data. The service bungled one nearby restaurant, but got everything else right. It uses the phone’s location data to narrow down results. Try searching for “sushi” and you’ll get your closest sushi restaurants at the top of your search results.

The Google Mobile app gives you its answers in text, which makes for a very quick experience. If your result returns phone numbers, you can dial the phone by clicking on one. But if you’re driving in your car and need a quick connection, use Goog411 instead, which is a full voice-in, voice-out experience.

As others have noted, Google Mobile doesn’t let you do voice dialing from your own contact list. It’s frustrating to be able to search the entire Web with your voice but not be able to search your own phone. But it’s still a useful and very cool little service.

To get the app, go to this link or visit the iTunes Application Store and search for “Google Mobile App.” As I write this, the description for the page is old, but the app you get is the new one.

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