Google Maps For Mobile Gains Voice Search

    July 2, 2008

Carefully weigh how much you dislike typing on cell phones against how much you want to keep private whatever you’re researching.  Then, if you dare, check out the new voice search abilities connected to Google Maps for mobile.

The feature is experimental, and for better or for worse, current tests will limit participation to American owners of the 8110, 8120, and 8130 BlackBerry Pearl models.  If you’re one, you only need to press "0" to center your map view and then hold "the left-side key . . . while you say the name or type of business you’re looking for" to get some results, according to a post on the Google Mobile Blog.

Google Voice Search
 Google Getting Into Voice Search
(Photo Credit:

You should cross your fingers, as well – some promises of improvements may not say much about the technology’s current state – but the feature’s likely to spread, and this is an important step forward for Google.

Greg Sterling notes that Google’s voice search "is very much like the existing Windows Live Search for Mobile service with voice or Tellme for Blackberry devices (also Microsoft).  Yahoo also recently integrated Vlingo’s speech technology into oneSearch."  ChaCha has something in this arena, too, all of which means Google’s an extreme latecomer.

With the mobile market looking increasingly significant – desktop search and advertising seem to be pretty much wrapped up, after all – Google will need to accommodate chatty individuals.