Used Google Voice Search (336/366)

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
Arthur C. Clarke

I’ve always been a techie.  From back when I was a kid and my Great Uncle Bill got us hooked on the Apple II, I’ve been fascinated by all that computers and technology can accomplish.  Along with having almost every game console ever marketed, I’ve gone through life always upgrading my computers and researching (if not having) all the latest in awesome gadgetry.  One technology that has advanced pretty slowly in my opinion, has been voice recognition software.  Although Dragon voice recognition software has been around for some time, I never really cared for the programs that have come out, since they seemed to never really work well enough to make them more useful than hassle – just too many errors.

Well today I was reading an article on that outlined “can’t-miss” apps, and one was Google Search.  There was a link to an older article that basically said it was Google‘s answer to Apple‘s Siri – at least in the search department – because it’s been updated to include a voice command function.  Interesting!  I decided to check it out.

The first neat thing I noticed about this app is that after you sign in (if you have a Google account – they’re free), you have easy mobile access to your Google Apps, too.  Awesome!  I checked it out with Google Calendar, and it worked!

The first question I asked was that standard, “What’s the weather like?” question.  The weather forecast popped up on the screen, but the Google Search voice also answered with, “Here’s the forecast for San Francisco” Cool – but pretty basic.  Since Google Search asks for location information (which is why it knew I was asking for the weather in San Francisco), I thought I’d test the location usage out, too.  Hey, neato!

Then I tried to think of other uses.  What about conversions?  It not only shows, but speaks the answers to mileage conversions, and when I asked, “What’s the temperature in Celsius?” though it showed the weather in Fahrenheit, it indeed spoke the Celsius temperature.  Then I realized I could just tap the Celsius link next to the temperature on the screen, and all of the readings would be changed to Celsius.  Nice!

Then I tried other “Siri-type” situations, like “Tell Me a Joke” – to which Giri (ha ha) directed me to a jokes webpage and replied, “Laughter is the best medicine – well, maybe second after antibiotics.”  When I asked her “What is your favorite color?” she replied, “It’s hard to pick just one” – while cleverly listing a Google search page with their [multi-colored] logo.  I also tried the ever famous, “How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?” and she didn’t miss a beat.  Not only did the voice recognition determine the difference between “wood” and “would” because of the “smart” programming, but Giri answered “A woodchuck would chuck as much wood as a woodchuck could if a woodchuck could chuck wood,” along with a webpage devoted to the age old woodchuck question.  Hilarious.

Next I tried more “normal” usage questions.  Information on other places like, “What time is it in France?” and “What’s the weather like in Portland?” were answered not only with web references, but responded to with voice replies as well.  Great stuff if you have friends you’d like to Skype with in other parts of the world, or just need to pack for a short trip to another state.

Then, some of the coolest discoveries of the app I figured out – using the voice recognition technology as a spelling aid!  How many times have you thought, “How do you spell ‘xyz’ again?  I keep spelling that one three times every time I write it.”  I tried the first fun word that popped into my head.  This could be totally useful!

I moved on to one of our pet peeves.  The “t” is silent, people!  I swear!  Giri will prove it!  There’s even an auto play recording that loads after Giri pronounces it correctly for you.  And this was after I purposefully asked how to pronounce, “Off Ten.”  The voice recognition was able to pick up the intended word and relay the correct information.  Love it!

Google Voice Search is really, really cool – especially for people like me who don’t have Siri.  While it can’t move things around in your calendar or set an alarm for you, it can be super helpful for searching, which really is about 50% of what we do with our phones nowadays anyway.  I tried one last search in this session, and it did not steer me wrong this time, either:

So cool.  Thanks, Giri!

Related Links:
Google Search on iTunes

One Response to “Used Google Voice Search (336/366)”
  1. Ying says:

    Now THAT’S amazing!

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