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  • Every Day: The Best of the Verve Years

    • 8 out of 10
    • Joe Williams
    • Joe Williams was Figure Two in my three-man education in singing. A brilliant vocalist, scatter, and interpreter of jazz and blues, Williams produces music that's totally unique, yet sounds so effortl
  • Priest = Aura

    • 10 out of 10
    • The Church
    • Another of my all-time favorites, Priest = Aura is one of those rare albums where every song is simply fantastic, and a testament to how good pop-rock can be.

      Each song immediatel

  • Wolfmother

    • 8 out of 10
    • Wolfmother
    • Black Sabbath, The White Stripes, The Stooges. There aren't many bands worth their salt that want to be compared to other bands, but when I listen to Wolfmother's self-titled American debut, I can

  • Chicago Transit Authority

    • 10 out of 10
    • Chicago
    • For those of you who don't know, Chicago didn't always suck, and everyone in the band didn't always play a keyboard. When the band started off they were pioneers of rock and jazz fusion, and guita

  • Pressure Chief

    • 6 out of 10
    • Cake
    • Pressure Chief, Cake's latest album, didn't immediately grab me. In fact, it took perhaps half a dozen listens before I started truly enjoying it. Any

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Google to Release Voice-Based Search Application for iPhone

Software giant Google is expected as early as today to introduce an as-yet-unnamed free iPhone application that allows the users to search for information, directions or almost anything else via a voice-controlled interface, thereby eliminating the need for the keyboard.

"The service can be used to get restaurant recommendations and driving directions, look up contacts in the iPhone’s address book or just settle arguments in bars," wrote John Markoff, who profiled Google’s broad speech-recognition efforts while breaking word of the new offering in today’s New York Times.

For example, users can open the application and ask "What is the best italian restaurant in Cupertino?," the application would then return a list of relevant restaurants with star ratings, reviews, directions and contact information. Users can also ask trivia-based questions such as "Who was the MVP of the 2006 World Series?" and receive a useful answer in return.

The service is based around an engine that translates spoken words into data and then passes this data over to a Google server. Once received, the search is interpreted by an artificial intelligence, translated into a traditional data query and bounced back to the iPhone.

Though the system reportedly has its flaws, it’s said to be accurate enough to prove useful for most users and Google has stated that the service will improve over time as its database of queries expands through increased use.

The new application also takes advantage of the iPhone’s built-in accelerometer to determine how you the user is holding the handset and will only place itself into "listen mode" when it believes you’ve raised the phone to your ear, thereby reducing unintentional queries.

While still unreleased, the application is said to be an extension of a much broader artificial intelligence initiative at Google that has seen the outfit hire many of the top speech recognition experts in the world.

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