When the iPhone 4S was launched last year, one of the most well-marketed features was Siri. The speech-powered interface brought about a change in how users interacted with devices. Sure, voice-control was not entirely new. But Apple wanted to marry interface with content and control. Siri accepted natural speech instead of memorized commands, and users could directly command their iPhones to do their biding.
Android users may actually have a better speech-powered interface than Siri, although with Google being the central platform, the focus here is on search rather than spoken commands. Google Now on Android Jelly Bean uses the company's Knowledge Graph to put better context to a user's information, connections and actions through the various Google online services.
With Google's latest update to its iOS Search application, it might pose a more serious challenge to Siri on its iOS home turf. An iOS Search app review by The Verge reveals that Google's latest Search app may not be Google Now, but is “still a big step forward.”
Fast and accurate voice recognition. The review resulted in a fast and fairly accurate recognition of spoken commands both through a WiFi and cellular network. Search doesn't try to answer questions in natural speech like Siri, but it offers relevant search results within context faster than Siri.
Google Now style functionality. Search does not offer phone-level control, which means you cannot ask it to set appointments for you or accept SMS dictations. But it offers search results in an interface similar to Google Now, particularly the card-style items. The app can read back certain items, such as weather updates, sports scores, flight info, stock prices, and translations.
Google app integration. The new Search app is well-integrated with Google apps and services like YouTube and Maps. Asking for directions will open Google Maps — within mobile Safari — complete with the route you asked for. You can directly speak to Search when looking for YouTube videos.
Support for iPad and iPhone 5. The search app supports different displays and formats, particularly the latest iPhone and on the iPad.
What makes Google's latest Search app attractive is its great combination of interface and content. It's a polished app that combines speed, good voice recognition, and Google's vast stores of information, the review says.
Check out the video below:
Are there any iPhone users out there who think the same?
J. Angelo Racoma is a journalist and community manager with a keen eye for emerging standards and technologies. He is passionate about the enabling nature of mobile devices in both emerging and established markets. Aside from mobile and apps, Angelo has an interest in enterprise software and technology startups as an editor for Tech Wire Asia and e27.co.
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