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Release Date: August 05, 2009
Genre: Games
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Release Date: September 29, 2009
Genre: Rock
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Genre: Rock
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Discover New Music

  • The Dresden Dolls

    • 10 out of 10
    • The Dresden Dolls
    • The energetic duet of Amanda Palmer and Brian Viglione that make up the Dresden Dolls have created a wonderfully haunting sound in their self-titled album. They have been able to construct an imme

  • The Last 5 Years (2002 Off-Broadway Cast)

    • 10 out of 10
    • Jason Robert Brown
    • The soundtrack to this moving off-broadway musical is heart moving. The lyrics follow a couple in a relationship for five years, one point of view going forward in time, and the other tracing time fr
  • Quadrophenia

    • 10 out of 10
    • The Who
    • Quadrophenia is everything that Tommy wanted to be, a rock opera that told a story, but one where every song could still stand alone. It was also Pete Townshend's farewell tribute to the Mod

  • Is This It

    • 10 out of 10
    • The Strokes
    • The Strokes set the music world on fire with this 2001 album, with headlines declaring that the New York band was here to save Rock and Roll. While the band hasn't made as much of a splash since t

  • 2112

    • 10 out of 10
    • Rush
    • We all know it, right? Well, ya just gotta have it. 2112 finally showed Rush out on their own, doing their own thing, and doing it well, IMHO.

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In-Depth Review

Google Mobile App’s Voice Search

The free Google Mobile App for the iPhone and iPod touch can now search the Web based on voice commands. It's also capable of quick text searches of the contacts list as one types in the first few characters. In my initial testing, I found voice recognition to be good in favorable surroundings and slow speech.

The update to Google's mobile app was officially published on Nov 14, but actually went live on Monday, November 17th. It is free. I informally tested the app on an iPhone 3G.

The testing started with a quiet, large room (fairly echo free) and an air cleaner on low about 5 feet (1.5 m) away. The app works by detecting when the user places the iPhone close to the head, then beeps to let the user know it's ready for input. Normally spoken questions met with fairly good results.


Google Mobile App

Here are some sample questions and the corresponding text as interpreted by the app. The top listed URL is also shown.

Q: "When was Charlize Theron born?"
A: "when would surely spears born?"    
    Web link to Britney Spears

Q: "How old is Barack Obama?"
A: "How old is barack obama?"
    http://obamashirts.com/aboutobbama.html (47 years, 4 Aug 61)

Q: "Where is the Denver Museum of Nature and Science?
A: "where is the denver museum of nature and science?"
    http://dmns.org/main/en

Q: "Who is John Martellaro?
A: "who is john mark de oro?"
    No surprise here.

Q: "Who is Jeff Gamet?
A: "who is jeff gambit?"
   I didn't mumble.  Really Jeff.

Q: "Where is the closest gas station?
    Good results, but location was off.

Q: "How big is a light year?"
A: "how big is a lightyear?"
   starchild.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/StarChild/questions/question19.html
   9.5 trillion kilometers.

In the next stage of testing, the air cleaner remained on and Internet radio was added at a comfortable listening level. The speakers were 15-16 inches (40 cm) from the iPhone.

Q: "How big is a light year?"
A: "how big is always here?"

Q: "How old is Barack Obama?"
A: "how old is barack obama?"
    http://obamashirts.com/aboutobbama.html (47 years, 4 Aug 61)

Q: "Where is the Denver Museum of Nature and Science?"
   "where is the denver museum of nature and science?"
    http://dmns.org/main/en

That wasn't too bad. So I turned up the volume on the Internet radio to a fairly high level, just a little too loud for listening during work.

Q: "How big is a light year?"
A: "how big is a lightyear?"
   starchild.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/StarChild/questions/question19.html
   9.5 trillion miles

Q: "How old is Barack Obama?"
A: "how old is barack obama?"
    http://obamashirts.com/aboutobbama.html (47 years, 4 Aug 61)

That was fairly impressive. Perhaps the software has a background noise filter. Next, I did a a few tests in which I spoke as fast as I could without mumbling. Internet radio was turned off.

Q: "When was Barack Obama born?"
A: "woodrock obama born?"

Q: "How old is Katie Couric?"
A: "culver city clerk"

Just to make sure that the phrase "Katie Couric" wasn't beyond the app's ability in normal speech, I slowed down and tried to articulate carefully:

Q: "How old is Katie Couric?"
A: "how old is katie couric?"    
    http://www.wikipedia.com/wiki/Katie_Couric (41, 7 Jan 57)

Other Features

The app can only search the Internet with voice commands. However, it also has an alternative text input mode, and that can search your contact list. The Settings page has a toggle that looks, at first, like voice will search contacts, but it turns out to imply all searches, specifically text search.

After I discovered that my location was off, I looked for a way to reset my location, but didn't find it.

The Google mobile app also has a "tab" that allows the user to access all the Google-branded Web applications such as Gmail, Docs, Calendar, Talk and so on. This handy invitation to take advantage of Google Web apps, which are financed in other ways, is probably why this app is free.

Bottom Line

The Google mobile app did better than I thought it would. In normally spoken voice with moderate pace and articulation and even some background music, the app did a good job of bringing up relevant information on the Web. Considering how it can be sometimes inconvenient to type, then correct errors to get a good Google search result, a few misses before a hit with voice is a good trade to make, especially in a situation in which careful typing isn't convenient, such as walking.

Just The Facts

Google mobile app from Google

MSRP Free

Pros:Blocks moderate background noise, good voice recognition, good UI, exploits user location.

Cons:Cannot voice search Contacts.

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