Testing Google voice search on the iPhone

I’ve been following the news about Google’s voice search for the iPhone eagerly for the past few days. I don’t have an iPhone but one of my colleagues in the office does :-) So when I read that the application is out (disguised as the Google Mobile Application) I immediately stole my colleagues iPhone and installed the app.

The nice thing is that using voice search is very intuitive. Just hold the phone up to you ear and talk. No pressing of buttons is required.

However I was quite disappointed by the overall experience of the application. Maybe because my expectations were quite high.

I tried to talk in a clear voice using the best American accent I can fake. The application has to send my voice to the server, which takes time (obviously). It doesn’t take too long, but long enough to start frustrating you. A Google search on my Mac with Inquisitor installed (which auto-completes searches beautifully) is so snappy that anything slower seems sluggish..

Google iPhone's search

After sending the search, the search results come back. In most cases they came back wrong. I tried from both moderately noisy and quiet environments. A few searches worked from the first time but many just were totally wrong.

My guess is that the voice recognition technology is optimized for people with pure American (maybe also British) accents. I also think that the engine works better with searches related to Western place and brand names. A search for “testing mobile google search” worked from the first try. I needed two attempts for “the tallest man in Germany”. When I tried “Jordan Branding” or “Jordanian Blogger” I only kept getting wrong results.

Google iPhone's search
I will test this application again when I get a chance. It’s free. So if you have an iPhone you should certainly try it out.

Voice command capability on mobile phones is NOT used my most people. But I CERTAINLY use it on my N95. Voice dialing is something I use all the time, even though I often have to twist my pronunciation of Arabic names to suit the N95’s voice recognition engine. But when it works its fast and is useful, especially when driving!

I am not so sure about Google’s server-based approach. It just seems to slow.

And I really hope that proper voice dialing comes to the iPhone too (preferably by Apple itself, to ensure a smooth experience that doesn’t require launching some special application to dial.

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3 Responses to “Testing Google voice search on the iPhone”

  1. Dave Says:

    For future reference, you can take screen shots on the iPhone by pressing the Sleep and Home buttons simultaneously.

  2. manal Says:

    I’m typing this MSG from my sisters ipod touch its so cool,n way cooler to leave it on yr space ;) I’m so getting myself one :)

  3. carlos dudas Says:

    Greetings, i’ve been sooo jelous of my roomies BB curve, he can do google search by voice too. looks quite StarTrekie, when it works

    but why only android iphone and RIMM? what about my two favs sony ericsson and nokia?

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