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Mountain View (CA) – As of today, Google’s headline-making Voice Search feature is no longer the exclusive domain of iPhone and iPod touch. Thanks to a just-updated Google Mobile App
application, users of RIM’s Blackberry can also enjoy the
privilege of conducting web searches simply by speaking search
terms aloud into their handset. Google Mobile App for Blackberry also tailors search results to the user’s current geographical location, thanks to the My Location technology — just like on the iPhone.
The addition of Voice Search and My Location technologies to the Google Mobile App for
Blackberry was all but expected. The
two features have previously been the exclusive domain of Apple’s handset for the
past six months. The updated program now allows Blackberry users to
speak queries like “restaurants” or “movie showtimes” to immediately get listings of nearby restaurants or showtimes for theaters near to their current location, with a link to mobile Google Maps to even guide you to the location.
Searching by voice also works with standard Google
searches, such as currency conversion and weather. Google has even tweaked their voice search to recognize both American and British accent English.
The updated Google Mobile App (with or without Voice Search) is available by visiting m.google.com via a mobile browser on your Blackberry running on O/S 4.1 and above. Voice Search features requires O/S 4.2 and above.
Google first released Google Mobile App on iPhone last
summer. The all-in-one mobile application provides convenient access
to the search giant’s popular web features like Gmail, Docs, Search and
Calendar. The company updated the application with its new Voice Search
feature mid-November, giving iPhone users the opportunity to speak what
they wanted for Christmas into the handset.
It works by listening to the user’s request, then sending the digital
voice data to Google’s servers where voice recognition technology turns
audio into a classic search query. Textual results tailored to user’s
current location are then immediately displayed back to the user’s browser. This remote voice recognition ability allows Google to constantly improve their service without requiring everybody to update their local software.
Besides iPhone, iPod touch and Blackberry releases, Google also brought the Google Mobile App to Windows Mobile-powered devices in mid-January, albeit without Voice Search. Interestingly, the application
is still unavailable for Google’s own Android platform — although users of Android-powered devices make up for the lack of
it with Android’s deep integration at the system level with Google services.
S60 platform, and other proprietary operating system platforms from Sony
Ericsson, Motorola, Samsung and Palm all lack the Google Mobile App, users of these platforms can still access the most
popular Google services separately, via a standard mobile web browser.
SEARCH WITH VOICE
The Google Mobile App provides convenient shortcuts to the search giant’s popular web features. The updated version for Blackberry enables location-based voice searching. Simply hold the phone icon down and speak your search term in the handset.
At this time, the technology understands voice queries spoken in American or British accents.
Just like the Google search engine on desktops, the Google Mobile app for Blackberry features search suggestions that appear as you type, saving you keystrokes and time.
THE POWER OF LOCATION-BASED SEARCH
An auto-correct feature suggests corrections to typos. The My Location technology tailors search results to your current geographical location. Paired with voice search, this makes it ridiculously easy to get showtimes in nearby theaters or retrieve driving directions to a nearby restaurant.