Google is Listening: Now Search by Voice

Google voice recognition search

Update: Google will wash your mouth out with soap

Does this speak of a new era of human-computer interaction? Voice recognition software has been around commercially for a couple decades now, but questionable results have cloistered it as something of a novelty.

Sometime in the last couple days, speech input has been implemented on the Google search form. This is certainly the most interacted-with text field in the realm of user interfaces, and might suggest that we are one step closer to what some see as the holy grail: direct mind control.

It seems that this voice technology is only so far available with Google’s Chrome browser, and likely hasn’t been rolled out to all users yet. But a little microphone icon appeared in my search box today, and upon clicking it I was prompted to speak my search query. If you want to try this out yourself, I assume you’ll need a microphone and the latest version of chrome.

I’m quite impressed by the speed and accuracy of the results. Here are a few of the queries I spoke, all at a normal talking speed, and all transcribed correctly:
Google search by speech: H.P. LovecraftGoogle vocal search query: "Can I trash my keyboard now?"Google search by speech recognition

I don’t anticipate actually using this feature anytime, as it still seems much easier to perform my searches from the Chrome address/search bar, which doesn’t yet feature voice input. What do you think: is the voice search feature useful?

(The cheesy Google logo seen above has nothing to do with the voice technology: it’s in honor of Mother’s Day. Happy one, mom.)

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