Google launched another salvo in its battle against Siri today when its updated search app appeared in Apple’s App Store. The updated app enables users to search with voice on their phones and, often, to receive responses in a female voice — just like Siri.
Google’s offering isn’t baked into iOS, of course, so it can’t access calendar or contact information for iPhone users the way Siri can. But my colleague Ryan Kim took Google’s new app for a test drive with his voice and came away pretty impressed, saying it quickly transcribed questions and returned results “in a zip.”
Apple has a clear leg up here with iPhone users because Siri simply can do things in iOS that Google will never be able to do. But Google has clearly done solid work in improving its voice-recognition software. And because the technology remains so flawed — as any Siri user can tell you — I think a key for both Apple and Google (and others) will be in limiting the use-case scenarios to those which deliver the most accurate results. The only practical way to grow uptake of voice-recognition software is to ensure users that the technology will provide the results they’re looking for, so barring a technological breakthrough this space will continue to take baby steps. It looks like Google just took another one.