5 reasons why Google put voice search on the iPhone first

Google has announced a new search capability for iPhones, the ability to search by speaking your search term into the iPhone. Google shoots the recording of your voice up into the cloud, translates it to text and returns the search results. But wait, there's more. The new Google iPhone search app utilizes the iPhone's accelerometer to detect when the iPhone has been moved up to the user's ear, then it begins listening for the search term. The search results are then returned to the iPhone in the standard Google search-results format. Google also uses the iPhone 3G's GPS to find locations, such as a restaurants, that might be near where you are. Were you wondering when we'd get that capability? I was too.

Here's a video by jon4lakers that shows the new Google search app at work.

While reading the Google search results won't reduce the chances of an auto accident while using an iPhone, searching via voice is at least a good start. I regularly use the voice-dialing feature on my BlackBerry World Edition phone so I'm not squinting at my BlackBerry while dialing, whether I'm in the car or not. The BlackBerry's voice recognition is quite good, and Google's is even better because it's translating your search request in the cloud, in much the same way Google has been doing with its GOOG-411 service. If you haven't tried it, call 800-GOOG-411 from your phone instead of dialing (and paying the 411 charge) to get a business phone number. Its speaker-independent voice recognition is quite stellar in its accuracy. I use GOOG-411 and voice dialing all the time.

Now, you might ask, why didn't Google come out with the voice-search app for the G1 Google Android phone first instead of for the iPhone? Simple. 1) If Google came out with voice search on the G1 first, Apple or some other company might beat them to the punch with a similar app on the iPhone. 2) The large number of iPhones and iPhone users is a very attractive audience. 3) Nobody has a G1 phone yet. (Have you seen one yet? I haven't.) 4) There's no reason to make voice search a proprietary feature of Android, because Android is open sourced. 5) If Google voice search bombed on the iPhone, Google could always blame the iPhone 3G's crappy battery life. (Okay, that was a cheap shot. Sorry.)

Touch is hot, as evidenced by the iPhone, BlackBerry Storm, HP TouchSmart computers, Windows 7 touch-interface support, and many other touch-interface cell phones. But as hot as the touch user-interface is, voice recognition and location-aware software and services are racing around the corner to become the next hot tech features. Google's smart for jumping ahead of the market and bringing out voice search for the iPhone. I suspect we'll see Google voice search soon on other broadband 3G phones, like BlackBerries and G1s.

Like this? Here are some of Mitchell's recent posts.

Mitchell's Book Recommendations: Also visit Mitchell's other blogs and podcasts:

Visit Microsoft Subnet for more news, blogs, opinion from around the Web. Sign up for the bi-weekly Microsoft newsletter. (Click on News/Microsoft News Alert.)

Join the Network World communities on Facebook and LinkedIn to comment on topics that are top of mind.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

IT Salary Survey: The results are in