Downloaded the Google Mobile App last night so I could test out the new voice search capabilities. The app is not 100% hands free but it's a great step.
To get started:
- Open the Google App (requires a screen tap)
- Choose Search from the icons along the bottom (if you had it open before it's still on that selection)
- Now you hit the microphone icon in the top right and speak
- OR (here's the no tap part) simply bring the phone up to your ear.
Either way, you'll hear a tone when the app is ready to receive your search criteria.
If you've hit the button you'll get an even bigger hint.
After a moment or two of the working screen you get your results. I've had decent luck with my test queries. It seems the best results come from common searches. That is, the more popular the search term, the more likely voice search is to get it right.
For example, while I got odd results looking for Jon Reid (hey, you would have searched for you, admit it) Tim O'Reilly quickly turned up the Web 2.0 man himself. In fact I had better results slowly spelling out J O N R E I D than I did when saying it.
Here are my results for a quick snack in the GTA:
The snapshot isn't wonderful but if you can make it out, you see that I get addresses, phone numbers, and links to maps. Not bad! Search can also be tied to you GPS location so you can search for nearby goodies.
My ultimate vision of voice search has me asking Google questions as I drive. Letting me get directions safely without having to pull over first to type.
I know that day is coming!
Alas, we aren't there quite yet.