If you have an iPhone, you are in luck as the battle is heating up in terms of search offerings on the iPhone. Google has updated it’s iPhone native Google search App numerous time with the most recent app being the most exciting one due to the inclusion of voice activated search.
1. Google Search
The Google Search experience on the iPhone using the Google app is similar yet, optimised for the iPhone. The results pages are the same except smaller, the sponsored link ads are there except smaller. However Google has done a couple of optimisation on the iPhone to make the search experience a bit pain less on the iPhone
Firstly, as you type your search keyword, possible results are listed continuously below as you add new keywords, other keywords are also guessed by Google and suggested to you as you type your search strings out. All of this enhancement is there to decrease the need to type as it is not a pleasant experience to type using your thumb on the iPhone, and I must say, it works pretty well.
The second enhancement is the much hyped voice search. The premise sounds simple enough, you bring your iPhone to your face, you tell it what you are searching for and it gives you the results without you having to type any thing: the holy grail of searching on the phone. My experience and from what I read on various review site led me to conclude that it does not work well at all. Speech recognition is a difficult computing problem, even with the might of modem computing hardware such as the iPhone, it is difficult to do well. Unless you speak with very simple one keyword search spoken VERY SLOWLY, your chance of a correct transcription is near zero, you end of having to type it anyway. More of a gimmick rather than a useful feature if you ask me.
In terms of current crop of alternatives, Vlingo stands out with its outstanding voice recognition technology. Vlingo has been providing a very popular search app on the Blackberry and their offering on the iPhone is rock solid even against the might of Google, frankly speaking I am surprised that vLingo has not made it to the top 50 free app list but you can download it from this link.
One good touch with Vlingo is that it is at least humble, in that if it believe it did not get a good recording, it will say so and ask you to say it again.it will also offer variation of what you might have said along with what it think you said.
Compared with the Google search app, it has more features, you have the option of searching Yahoo using the vLingo app, and most importantly, I believe the voice recognition is superior based on my usage.
The superior speech recognition accuracy is apparently due to the app’s ability to learn your speech patterns. From its pool of 5 million utterances so far, the system is also sampling other users, "so it improves for the entire community,"
You can search for web sites, location, business, and even make voice activate call by saying the person’s name you want to call. Just for good measure, Vlingo even threw in the ability to update your facebook or twitter profile by speaking to your iPhone.
The verdict? Since they are both free, why not have both. The possibility is endless in this area of voice powered search and in the meantime, the iPhone can be even more handy in the car with a car kit as you try to find the nearest pizza shop as you drive.
I expect there to be plenty of new comers to this space and very exciting innovation, as a searcher and a fan of the iPhone that can only mean good news and that I will be holding on to my iPhone a lot longer. If you are an iPhone user, you ought to give mobile search a try!