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Macworld - As predicted Monday, 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.
The App enables users to speak Google requests directly into the iPhone, these are then translated on the fly and Google search results are returned.
A Google promotional video demonstrated just how easy it is to search via voice commands, with users speaking directly into the phone, waiting for a 'ba-ding' tone and speaking the request. The phone then delivers results based upon a translation of this spoken request. Google claims that no voice training is necessary (or no 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, 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 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).