Michael Olivero
The official blog of Michael Olivero, Software Architect & Humble Entrepreneur

A better Siri for iPhone? - Google Voice Search for iOS

Wednesday, 31 October 2012 20:32 by Michael Olivero


Most people who know me would say I'm an Apple buff and have "Appleitus" where anything and everything about Apple is just amazing to me.  For the most part this is true, and yet few realize I actually work and program on Windows most of the time making it just that more ironic.  Despite my "Appleitus" however I have to give credit where credit is due and this happens to be with Google's latest app update for Google Search on iOS.

Google search for some time now has updated their iOS app and slowly incorporated various features from the Chrome tabs, to one touch accessibility for most of their services.  Historically it has mostly been hidden under the barrage of apps I have on my phone rarely using it as it really didn't provide me any real significant benefit over what is already available on the iOS platform -- until today.

I can honestly say, I was impressed on my first use of the voice enabled search.  Unlike Siri which first listens and then sends your audio quickly to Apple servers for interpretation, Google voice search interprets your spoken words on the fly as you speak.  Not only does it do this on the fly, it also is context aware.  For example, as you speak, it changes the previous interpreted words while using the more recently interpret words if it feels you formerly meant another word.  If you ask for Apple's stock price, it first writes the word "apples" and then changes it to "Apple's" as soon as it interprets the next word and realized you are talking about the stock price for Apple the company.

Unlike Siri, you can pretty much ask Google search anything and Google uses it's vast amount of data to not only infer what you spoke with highest probability algorithm, but also provide custom search results where you can interact with.  For example, you can ask it what movies are playing now and you get a nice interface showing you the movie covers playing in theaters now allowing you to scroll horizontally and and tapping shows the details along with the show times for the nearest theaters.


You can ask it what is day light savings time and it explains it.  You ask it when is day light savings time and it tells you when it starts and when it ends.  You can ask it for "who is sheldon" and it promptly finds the actor Sheldon from Big Bang Theory.  You ask it for "who is penny" and it also shows the corresponding actress.  Follow that with "what is a penny" and you get a nice voice description of what a penny is.

The video below carries it's own weight.  It was convincing enough that the app became part of my dock.

Categories:   iPhone / iPad
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