Google is pushing the limits of speech recognition technology with the latest update to its mobile search application for the Apple iPhone device.
The free software (available for download at the iTunes store) will allow users to ask verbal questions like “Where’s the nearest Starbucks?” or “How tall is Mount Everest.” Within seconds, Google’s servers transmit search results to the phone over a 3G network, using the iPhone’s GPS features to customize results on the basis of location.
A more complicated query like “What are the best restaurants in this neighbourhood?” will return local business reviews by other Google users, complete with phone numbers and driving directions.
The ability to recognize and decode human speech has long been a goal of artificial intelligence researchers looking to make man-machine interaction more user-friendly. Google’s ability to store and analyze vast quantities of data will give it a unique edge in the application of such technology, according to experts in the field.
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