Google Mobile App For iPhone Could Be Better… If It Read Your Mind

Google Mobile App For iPhone Could Be Better… If It Read Your Mind

After a small delay, Google released their new and improved Google Mobile for iPhone app yesterday. We gave you our one-word review, but now it’s time for a closer look at Google’s impressive new voice recognition search app—the one that’s going to make typing to search on your phone a thing of the past.

How It Works

How It Really Works

The videos above certainly make the search-by-voice Google Mobile seem incredible, but anything can look good in a video. The real test is how it works in practice.

Lucky for us, the voice-recognition capabilities are uncannily good. I won’t say you’ll never get a bum match—see, for example, how TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington’s search for “How big is a giant squid?” was interpreted as “public citizen times square“, or alternately, how my initial voice search for “Lifehacker” was interpreted as “Flight Tracker” (my second try worked, for what it’s worth). For the most common searches—and even many uncommon searches, for that matter—you may be surprised at just how well it works.

Much to my satisfaction, the search results now appear in an iPhone-optimised format similar to the new mobile Safari layout. That means you’ll also get quick access to phone numbers and directions when applicable to your search.

Any Downsides?

My biggest disappointment is the new Apps tab, which contains links to open any of a handful of Google Apps, still has to launch mobile Safari rather than opening the apps directly inside the Google Mobile app, so it’s still not the one-stop Google shop that it could be. (Apparently there are limitations placed on what an application-embedded browser can do versus what mobile Safari can do.)

Now that you’ve had the chance to play with it for a day, let’s hear what you think of the new Google Mobile app in the comments.


  • It worked alright for me seeing as it says that it works best with a North American accent, being an Aussie I guess we pronounce a few things differently.
    Although I’m guessing as the technology does progress it will work better for us people with awesome accents 🙂

  • I find it to be not fantastically accurate to be honest. I’ve tried with a faux-american accent with not much improvement. For simple searches like “flowers” or “dry cleaners” or whatever it’s fine, for phrases like the giant squid size I have had zero luck. Must be the Australian drawl…

  • One day, you’ll be talking on the phone and say to your friend “We should catch up for a beer with Tim on Saturday night”. Your phone will check your’s, your friend’s, and Tim’s schedule, make sure it’s clear and set a meeting for you all. It will remember your favourite pub and give you a reminder on the night that the dress code is “organic cotton”.

    This google app is bloody brilliant. It is the beginning of the end of the keyboard. Every single search is being mapped back at google HQ. Every single time the app is used it will get a little better. Give it 6 months and it will be picking an australian accent. The amount of data google will collect on voice mapping is going to be astronomical. I think this app on it’s own was worth switching to an iphone.

    by the way – my first test “pizza” gave me footsie’s pizza in frankston. not only is it close to my home, it also makes the best kids pizzas in the area and I frequently go there…

  • I doubt very much this will be an iPhone exclusive — I bet it’ll end up on Android for a start, and if Google is serious about voice search, the BlackBerry is a likely target too.

Show more comments

Log in to comment on this story!