I’m guessing that I’m not alone when I say that I’ve never once used voice search and don’t consider it as something terrifically important. Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) disagrees with me and will be rolling out voice search features that are already present in Google Now across additional platforms this week.
There is, however, one glaring exception to the necessity of voice search, Google Glass. I write for a living and consequently type quite quickly, I live in a town that I can find my way around blindfolded, but for a Google Glass user/tester/developer, voice search is absolutely essential given the lack of a keyboard. Voice is the only option if Glass is to take off when it is offered to the public.
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Google voice search targets Glass and tablet users
To a lesser extent, it’s also easy to see why Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) feels that those using smartphones and tablets would prefer to have a strong voice search option given the limited utility of the “keyboards” on these devices.
Five categories will see expanded voice search available in most Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) programs including Google Chrome. The categories include scheduled flight information, photos from Google+, event information from Google Calendar, purchase data from Gmail shipping notices, and restaurant reservations, from Gmail and Google Calendar.
According to Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) spokeswoman Roya Soleimani, these new search features will begin rolling out today and will be available to all Google users by week’s end.
Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s Knowledge Graph and contextual voice recognition will form the spine of voice search. GKG made its debut in the last year with Google Now.
Google voice search tests
Soleimani said that asking, “What time is my flight?” will elicit the same answer as “When is my flight?” or “When does my flight leave?” This shows the robust nature of something that Google has only just begun working on in the grand scheme of things.
This robustness will also allow for logical follow-up questions. “When is my dinner reservation?” could be followed with, “How do I get there?” Google Search then will open Google Maps to direct you to the restaurant, or pull up the restaurants phone number with another query.
Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) has remained quite coy when asked how many people were involved in the testing of voice search, saying only that it was a “substantial” amount that have participated.