No Siri? No Problem. Google is expanding its Voice Search feature on iOS devices, including older ones that can’t run Apple’s own Siri technology.
Google announced that its enhanced speech recognition and interpretation features for its iOS Search app are to be released in an update “soon”. The Verge reports that it could be within days.
It builds on the basic voice search already contained in Google’s iOS Search app and brings it much closer to the way Google Now works on the recently released Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) operating system, although its results are presented slightly differently. The change is part of a general overhaul of the Google search engine.
"Often the most natural way to ask a question is by asking aloud, so we’ve combined our speech recognition expertise, understanding of language and the Knowledge Graph so that Voice Search can better interpret your questions and sometimes speak the answers back as full sentences,” explained the Google Official Blog this week. “This has been available on Android for a few weeks and people love it."
This would give a new lease of life to legacy devices such as the iPhone 4, which can’t run Apple’s Siri. Even when Siri lands on the iPad with the iOS 6 update this autumn, only the newer third-gen model will be compatible, so Google has an opportunity here too. As before, the updated Search app will run on anything with iOS version 4.2 and above.
Even if you do have Siri on your mobile gadget, there’s a chance that the Google feature may be better for your needs, providing a bit of healthy competition too.
It’s also a sign of Google fighting back after news that Apple is dropping Google Maps as a default app in iOS 6 in favour of its new in-house development and the even more recent announcement that the stock YouTube app will also be left of out iOS 6 (Google will be providing its own option).