Google Introduces Redesigned Mobile Search Experience, “Google Now” And Siri-Like Assistant

Screen shot 2012-06-27 at 1.14.06 PM Buried among the sexy hardware announcements and hair-raising Google Glass demo this morning were some fairly radical changes to the Google search experience for mobile devices. To date Google has been compensating for the awkwardness of the PC SERP on smartphones with voice search and other marginal "fixes." Today it took a potentially major step toward offering a distinct search experience designed specifically for mobile that may bury the "old" mobile SERP. The familiar smartphone mobile SERP is still there and probably will continue to be shown in a majority of cases. But these new e [...]

Survey: 87 Percent Of iPhone 4S Owners Use Siri Monthly

apple-logo Siri is popular but its usage is limited, according new survey research from Parks Associates. The firm surveyed 482 iPhone 4S owners and asked about their usage of the virtual assistant. High level findings from the survey were published today by the Wall Street Journal. Parks Associates found the following: 87 percent iPhone 4S owners use Siri at least monthly Roughly one third of iPhone 4S owners use Siri "almost daily" Initiating calls and texts were the most common Siri-related activities 26 percent use Siri to send email daily More "advanced" functions such as calendaring [...]

WSJ Says Big Google Search Changes Coming? Reality Check Time!

reality-sign-featured The Wall Street Journal is out with a story saying that Google is about to make one of the biggest changes in its history of offering web search, providing more direct answers and gaining "semantic" smarts to understand more about what words mean. I'm scratching my head, since Google already does this. Methinks Google's PR has exploded in ways it didn't expect. Beyond Blue Links! From the story, we learn things such as: Over the next few months, Google's search engine will begin spitting out more than a list of blue Web links. It will also present more facts and direct answers to queries at [...]

Google Faces “Innovator’s Dilemma” As It Prepares Response To Siri

Screen shot 2012-03-05 at 7.09.53 AM We've heard the search-related mantra "answers not links" so many times over the past few years that it sounds like a cliche. However in a mobile context the phrase has more meaning: a page of Google search results is ill-suited to the mobile use case. While Google has done many things to make it easier to get data and queries into smartphones with voice search, visual search, specialized apps and Google Instant the company still doesn't deliver "answers." It delivers a mobile-optimized version of its PC experience. Google now faces an "innovator's dilemma" of sorts as it seeks to adapt [...]

Google Buys Clever Sense: An Answer To Siri?

Screen shot 2011-12-13 at 11.31.39 AM As is being widely reported Google has bought startup Clever Sense, which earlier this year launched the local-mobile recommendations app Alfred. Alfred is like "Pandora for the real world" and was dedicated to creating a comprehensive "interest graph." Clever Sense assigns or maps physical places to one another based on styles, characteristics and attributes in the same way that Pandora does for music. However this process is all done by "artificial intelligence." Here's how Clever Sense itself described the functionality behind Alfred: The Extraction Engine built into the Clever S [...]

Head To Head: Siri Vs. Google Voice Actions

Screen shot 2011-10-16 at 8.04.48 AM When you first begin using Siri it’s not entirely clear what you can do with it. (It's also not clear how to access it.) Yesterday Danny wrote up some initial thoughts/criticisms of the Siri local search experience. In this piece I'm going to offer some general thoughts comparing Siri (on an iPhone 4S) with Google Voice Actions on my current phone (Android EVO) as well as some head to head examples of queries on both. Siri Leans on Google If you say to Siri, "What can I ask you?" it returns a list of the categories of things it can do. However when I rephrased the question slightly and ask [...]

Why Siri + Yelp = Useless Google Maps On The iPhone 4S

siri 1 It sounds great. Speak into Siri about some local need, get nice results from Yelp's reviews. In reality, it's pretty easy instead to end up stuck with only a phone number and directions from Google Maps. From Siri To Yelp To Google Maps Consider this example, which illustrates the situation I've repeatedly found to be true with Siri: I asked Siri for "Places to eat." It pretty awesomely interpreted that to mean nearby restaurants, a natural language query that Google Voice Actions, as I've tested them, disappoints on. Selecting a restaurant from the nice list, which comes from Yelp and [...]

Alternatives To Siri: Google Voice Actions, Nuance, Vlingo

Screen shot 2011-10-06 at 5.21.04 AM Beyond some of the processing and other technical upgrades in the new iPhone 4S, the standout feature of the new device is the Siri "Assistant." It's an expanded and enhanced version of what's behind the existing Siri iPhone app, which is being shut down on October 15. And while Siri is not a "voice search engine," people will certainly use it to find information and accomplish tasks they might otherwise have used search or apps to complete. Siri is more "transactional" than search, taking users to an "answer" or a page where a task can be completed (e.g., making a reservation on OpenTable, [...]

How Siri Patches Up The iPhone’s Voice Search Weakness Vs. Android

iphone-siri-featured The Siri voice search assistant that Apple demoed today as part of its big press event looks pretty impressive. If it works as shown, it'll go a long way in patching up one of the big weaknesses the iPhone has had versus Android, that of lacking built-in voice commands. Voice Actions: A Spoken Magic Wand I've used various Android phones with Google Voice Actions since Google first rolled them out in August 2010. They're amazing. Press on the search button, speak a command, and the phone works its magic. It's very, very cool. I got a reminder of that a few months ago when visiting with a f [...]

Apple Delivers iPhone 4S With Siri Voice “Assistant,” Disappoints On iPhone 5

iphone 4 The Apple iPhone keynote just ended and as you probably already know there was no iPhone 5. What was announced was an interim iPhone 4S, which has a faster processor, iOS 5, improved camera/video camera and will work with both CDMA and GSM networks. So it's a "world phone." In the US it will reportedly be offered by three out of the four major carriers. T-Mobile was left out. However the phone doesn't appear yet on the Sprint website. The Wall Street Journal had run a much publicized article on how Sprint was paying $20 billion over three years to Apple for some kind of exclusive on the [...]

Google Voice Search & Search By Image Comes To Desktops

Screen shot 2011-06-14 at 2.00.55 PM Mobile innovation is fueling Google's search offerings for the desktop, as the company today announced two new search interfaces -- Voice and Image -- inspired by mobile Voice Search and Google Goggles, respectively. With Voice Search for the desktop, which is a feature of the Chrome browser, users click a microphone icon in the search box, and then speak into their computer's microphone. Part of the idea, according to Google execs speaking at a media event in San Francisco, is to make voice search ubiquitous and increase awareness, to increase adoption. Already, mobile speech inputs t [...]

Google Rolls Out Shopper App For iPhone

Google's Shopper mobile app is being introduced for iPhone. It already exists for Android devices. Shopper allows users to search for products by voice, with the camera, via barcode scan or by text entry. Users can also share products on Facebook, Twitter, SMS or email. Google Shopper shows prices, product reviews and local inventory availability (where that data exists). It goes up against eBay's RedLaser, Amazon's apps and a number of other price comparison, reviews and mobile shopping apps. The common use case for Shopper and most other mobile shopping apps is the following: cons [...]

Google Voice Search Adds Personalization

Traditional search on Google is already personalized (and has been for some time), and now the company has announced that its Voice Search service can also be personalized. With personalized voice search, Google will use recordings of your voice search to "build a speech model" that's tied to your Google account. In doing so, Google says it can do a better job of speech recognition and improve search results, accordingly. "Although subtle, accuracy improvements begin fairly quickly and will build over time," Google says. Personalized voice recognition shows up as a new option in the Goog [...]

Report: Voice Searches 3X More Likely To Be Local

Chitika has just published some very interesting data about voice search on the iPhone. Google CEO Eric Schmidt recently said that about 25 percent of queries on Android devices are voice-initiated. That's an unexpectedly large percentage. By comparison Chitika's research director Dan Ruby said that he found about 7 percent of Google searches on the iPhone are voice searches. Interestingly he also said that voice searches are "three times more likely to be looking for local results" than searches on Google's browser site or text-entered queries on the Google iPhone app. Here's the compar [...]

Google Cuts The Cord On GOOG-411

Google announced they are discontinuing 1-800-GOOG-411, a voice activated local search service they launched in 2007. The service will go offline on November 12, 2010. Google said they offer many smart phone search options now, including voice search, voice input and voice actions. Google promised to put "all of our resources into speech-enabling the next generation of Google products and services across a multitude of languages." Wow, "all" might be a bit of an exaggeration? I don't believe this will impact search by SMS. [...]

Google ‘Voice Actions’ Eases Search (& More) On Android

Life just got a little easier for U.S.-based smartphone users running Android 2.2 (Froyo). During a press event this morning, Google announced "Voice Actions," a series of commands that lets users speak tasks that typically require typing. Danny Sullivan was at the event and live-blogged it here on SEL, and now there's more information from Google's blog. Voice Actions automates a variety of common smartphone tasks. By speaking a command, users can do general web searches or local searches, look up maps, get navigation, send emails or texts, and many more things. This Google video shows man [...]

Live Blog: Google Announces “Voice Actions” & “Chrome-To-Phone” For Android

Google's having an impromptu small press "gathering" today at its offices in San Francisco. Topic? "Cool new mobile features." Want to know more? Stay tuned, as I'll be live blogging the event that begins at 10am. This is all we know so far: We’ll be unveiling a couple of cool new mobile features at the event, and Google mobile product management director Hugo Barra will be on hand to help demonstrate the features and answer your questions. There's plenty of speculation you'll find over at Techmeme. Well know soon enough. Coverage begins below at 10am Pacific. And we're off. Mike Nel [...]

Google Building Instant Translator Companion

Google leaps language barrier with translator phone from The Times Online reports Google is working on a new tool that would bring instant translation to people. It appears that Google is a couple years away from this coming but they would build on their existing Google Translate and Google Voice features to create an instant translator. You would speak to it in any language, Google would then convert that and spit it back in the language of choice. Google Voice, Google Mobile search and similar products already take use of speech to text services. Google Translate already has some langu [...]

Google Releases Voice Search In China For Nokia S60s

Google announced that it had released voice search for Mandarin Chinese for Nokia S60 phones. This is potentially huge -- if Google gets it right -- because of the massive population in China. It could also drive more search usage and frequency. Google trails Baidu on the PC but mobile represents an opportunity for Google to grow share in that largest of all internet markets. Google now says it understands a range of English accents, and Mandarin although it doesn't yet get all accents in Mandarin. In addition, the capability will be coming soon to the Android and iPhone platforms in China. [...]

Google Voice Now Lets You Use Your Existing Phone Number

The Google Voice Blog announced that you can now use your existing phone number, with limited features, with Google Voice. Technically, I believe this is not considered porting your phone number, but it does allow you to use your existing number with Google Voice. Google has created a nice chart showing the difference in features between using a Google Voice number or using your own number with Google Voice: If you decide to use your existing number, make sure to read the FAQs and help documents carefully. Here is a video showing the various features you get with using your existin [...]

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