The Future Of Google Voice Search

    March 24, 2004

Speech Search, available in pre-beta stages at Google Labs, is an attempt to give users the ability to search Google through a voice interface. Speech Search gives users who are not at a computer the ability to search for driving directions, restaurant information, and even the aisle location of an item in your local supermarket.

Craig Silverstein, director of technology at Google, in an interview with ZDNetUK said, “that’s something you would never think to ask a search engine. You’re not likely to be using your laptop in a supermarket, but in the future I think search will be far more accessible — you won’t be tied to your desktop, you will be able to do it from your mobile phone or PDA.”

Speech Search works by calling a phone number posted on the demo site and stating “Say your Search Keywords”, and then querying the system. As of now, the search results are only received in a browser window that you are prompted to open by Google.

The biggest hurdle, according to Silverstein, is not the voice recognition technology, but rather the delivery of the search results.

He went on to explain that, “the problem is, how do you get the answers back? Do you have someone reading them off to you like one of those voicemail mazes where it takes so long to speak to someone? A big list works visually, but doesn’t work very well in audio.”

Google believes as computer technology improves the rate in which it receives information, the ability to deliver these vocal results will improve also.

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