Google Wants You to Lend Them a Voice

Silicon Valley giant hopes to make voice search work

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A customer looks at a demo model of the new T-Mobile G1 phone during a launch party at a T-Mobile store in San Francisco, California.

    Bay Area tech giant Google is hoping to use your voice to take a bite out of Apple's mobile world. As long as you don't speak English with an accent of course.

    Google is looking to use voice search to expand its presence in the mobile web. The company's vice president of engineering said voice search is finally a relevant reality at the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco last week.

    "We believe voice search is a new form of search and that it is core to our business," Vic Gundotra told the BBC.

    Google has said it sees voice search as a major opportunity for the company in building a presence on the mobile web.

    The company's vice president of engineering made the comments during a wide-ranging discussion at the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco.

    Gundotra said continued to say that "voice recognition in the early days was a nice trick but not very usable" but experts now believe the technology has finally caught up.

    "Look how far we have come," he told the BBC. "I get the advantage of looking at daily voice queries coming in and it's amazing. It's working. It's reached a tipping point. It's growing and growing very, very fast and we are thrilled about it."

    SearchEngineLand editor Greg Sterling said he thought the technology was ready to be harnessed by Google.

    "If done right, it could be a valuable strategic feature for Google,"  he told BCC.

    But there are of course problems and we would expect nothing less from a British government run media organization covering an American company.

    The BBC was quick to point out that there were complaints about Google's approach because voice activated searches have been American-centric in the past and have often struggled to recognize European accents, for example.

    "It's one of those technologies we think gets better with usage," he said. "We launched it on the iPhone and have seen a 15% jump in accuracy because, as more people use it, we collect more data and our accuracy gets better."