Google has created an app for the iPhone that will give the handset advanced voice recognition, reports John Markoff from the NY Times. Users of the free application, which Apple is expected to make available as soon as Friday through its iTunes store, can place the phone to their ear and ask virtually any question, like “Where’s the nearest Starbucks?”
It works by recording a soundbite, uploading it to Google’s servers, which will crunch the data and return an answer “within seconds on a fast wireless network”. The company plans to eventually make it available for phones other than the iPhone.
Both Yahoo and Microsoft already offer voice services for cellphones, explains the NY Times. Microsoft’s Tellme service returns information in specific categories like directions, maps and movies. Yahoo’s oneSearch with Voice is more flexible but does not appear to be as accurate as Google’s offering. Yahoo uses Vlingo for the the voice recognition and processing, reports C/Net.
Excuse Me Services offers Say Where, the first iPhone application for voice-entry to popular websites for mapping, business search, and reviews while their Say Who app lets you make calls by speaking any contact name or phone number.
Adobe added voice recognition technology developed by Autonomy, a British firm, to its Soundbooth and Creative Suite 4 software, allowing it to generate transcripts of video and audio recordings with a high degree of accuracy.
Intel’s CTO, Justin Rattner, says raw speed won’t be enough. “I once asked our speech recognition team if there was any direct relationship between machine computing speed and recognition accuracy and after a long pause, they said – because they knew I was not going to be happy with the answer – no.” He asked why: “Our recognition performance is limited by our algorithmic understanding, not by our instruction speed. We can give you the wrong answer much faster, but we can’t give you the right answer much faster.”
In other news, PhoneFusion says Android users will soon be able to see their voicemail as opposed to only hearing it. The phone-side software is currently available for Windows Mobile 5 or 6 and iPhone. AppAppeal and Android Guys review a variety of mobile apps found on Apple’s App Store and Google’s Android Market.
Here are Gizmodo’s 20 Essential iPhone Apps.