As predicted yesterday, Google's new voice-enabled Mobile App for iPhone (version 0.3.142) has gone live on the App Store and is now available for download.
A Google promotional video demonstrated just how easy it is to search via voice commands, users simply hold the iPhone up to their ear, wait for a 'ba-ding' tone and speak the search request. The phone then delivers Google search results based upon a translation of this spoken request. Google claims that no voice training is necessary (the flip side of this is that no personalised voice training is available).
Our initial testing has produced mixed results. The application isn't set up for voice recognition in the UK, so a visit to the Setup menu is in order to switch on the function. Here you will also see a warning that states: "Voice Search only works in English and works best for North American English accents". We found this to be true with most results coming up as incorrect with our British accents, often with comical results: "Macworld" came up as "Rockwell"; iPod User as "UCLA pizza" and "IDG" as the obscure, yet oddly enticing "Frank The Tank".
This stands as a stark contrast to the demonstrations shown in Google's YouTube videos of UK users happily issuing voice commands to their iPhones in a variety of regional accents:
On the other hand, saying both "Apple" and "YouTube" brought up the correct search results, and it may be that with careful training of your own voice commands you can start to use Google Voice Search with more reliable results.
Voice Search also works with your Contacts, so it could be used to quickly find people in your address book. However, so far we have found this to be even less reliable than Google Web search.
As before, the App also enables access to the wide variety of Google Apps, but now the interface has had a redesign to make them more accessible from the main screen.
You can now enable Screen Rotation too, which provides a wider on-screen keyboard, although this prevents voice activation from working (presumably because it interferes somehow with the accelerometer-based voice activation).
Click here to open the iTunes App Store and download the Google Mobile App.