Google launches ‘most-advanced’ voice search app to date
Company’s voice search app aims to understand context of requests, allowing follow-up questions
Googler Saskia Clifford-Mobley uses a Google Nexus 7 tablet to demonstrate Google Hangout features during a live demonstration of Google Voice Service capabilities in London. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire
Google has launched what it has described as its most-advanced voice search facility to date.
The new app is available on iOS from today, meaning most smartphone users in Ireland will have access to it on their devices — with the exception of BlackBerry and some Windows phones.
Google Voice Search aims to understand the context of requests, allowing follow-up questions to be asked on the same topic. This means someone asking about the current weather in Drogheda, for example, could then ask: “How do I get there?” — without reminding the device which city they are referring to.
The answer will be given aloud on the smartphone if it is short and succinct. Google technology expert Michael Valvo said: “Whether you’re plotting the easiest public transport route across London, trying to order a drink in Paris en Francais, or cheating at a pub quiz, Google is there to help you get the information you need, fast.”
Its other features include giving directions based on information from live traffic updates, and setting reminders based on a location, which could allow the user to be alerted to take the bins out when they get home, or to pick up a certain item when they get to their local supermarket.
It will also allow smartphone users to ask Google to identify a song that is being played — and will then give the option of buying that song in the Google Play app. Google claim the new voice search is faster than its nearest rival, Apple’s Siri facility, and also provides users with more detailed answers.
Mr Valvo added: “This is Google’s most advanced voice search ever, which is now available to the majority of smartphone users in the UK with the release day of the latest Google search app on iOS. “It has the ability to understand the context of a conversation and spoken directions that even take into account traffic conditions.”
The new features were showcased in central London in a specially-designed Google House, which demonstrated how the search could be used in different contexts, such as while in the kitchen or while planning a holiday.