Google has made good on its promise of improved voice search on Apple’s iOS operating system. On Tuesday, the company released a new Google Search app that brings natural language voice search to the iPhone and iPad.
A rival to Apple’s own Siri intelligent agent, Google’s app provides contextual answers to voice queries, along with pertinent Web search results. Those answers aren’t manually curated; they’re simply the Internet’s best guess. But thanks to Google’s Knowledge Graph — a sort of storehouse of semantic-search information — they seem to be generally pretty accurate. During a Monday demo, Google product manager Hugo Barr showed the Android version of voice search correctly and quickly providing information about local movie times and answering questions like, “What is a baby kangaroo called?”
While the app doesn’t have the same system-level integration as Siri, it appears to be well integrated with Google services like YouTube and Maps, ably offering directions to the locations I asked of it and pulling up query-relevant YouTube videos. It’s also very fast. Overall, an impressive effort and one that will certainly keep Apple on its toes.