My first voice-recognition question for Google’s new iPhone App

The NYTimes is reporting that Google researchers have added sophisticated voice recognition technology to the company’s search software for the Apple iPhone. The new feature will be available as early as today.

It works like this: You ask a question and the sound is converted to a digital file and sent to Google’s servers, which try to determine the words spoken and pass them along to the Google search engine. The concept of a spoken-word interface with Google is not new. A service called Google 411 has been around for a while and can be used with any phone. (And other spoken-word or voice-recognition services exist, including one of my favorites, Jott, that converts a 15 second message into an e-mail or other text document.)

However, here’s the new, new thing today, as described in the Times:

“An intriguing part of the overall design of the service was contributed by a Google researcher in London, who found a way to use the iPhone accelerometer — the device that senses how the phone is held — to set the software to “listen” mode when the phone is raised to the user’s ear.

So, here’s my first question:

“Why would Google, which is in the midst of supporting the launch of its own mobile phone platform appearing first on the G-1 from T-Mobile, release an awesome feature that provides a marketing advantage to a competitor of the G-1?”

The T-Mobile G-1 includes an accelerometer (with noted limitations). Unless the same app-feature is released for the G-1 simultaneously, I think T-Mobile there are some marketing folks at T-Mobile who have the right to be fuming this morning.

About Rex Hammock

Founder/ceo of Hammock Inc., the customer media and content company based in Nashville, Tenn. Creator of and head-helper at SmallBusiness.com.
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  • http://www.attentionmax.com Max Kalehoff

    Rex: “Why would Google, which is in the midst of supporting the launch of its own mobile phone platform appearing first on the G-1 from T-Mobile, release an awesome feature that provides a marketing advantage to a competitor of the G-1?” Because Google ubiquity across devices is more important and strategic than tit-for-tat competition over a single device that will quickly be outdated anyway. Regards. (It’s funny leaving a comment here for you, because my brother’s name is Rex. There are not a lot of those.)

  • http://tomcheredar.com Tom Cheredar

    Google’s Reign is based entirely on opening up to everyone even if it doesn’t look like it’s in their immediate best interest to do so. Instead of denying the technology to all phones, the company is probably strategizing ways it can make money from everywhere. Plus Android is free to use by all carriers, and Google is hoping that its so good that it becomes the standard for all mobile OS — which would make it much, much easier to push out ads in the future.

  • Adam

    People don’t do research on an iphone. They do it on their desktop or notebook or UMPC. I found some voice recognition software named Tazti speech recognition that actually is a free download and performs voice searches of Google, Yahoo, MSN, Wikipedia, Amazon, eBay and many other websites. It also lets me log into and navigate Facebook and Myspace by talking to my PC. It really works well.

    Here’s their youtube demo video: http://www.youtube.com/w?atch?v=C1tt_aeIAM8