A lot of people might label the Google Search app for iPhone and iPad redundant, but once you use it, you are sure to realize that there’s more to this app than meets the eye. While the mobile version of the Google Search website has recently been revamped to include separate entries for Reader, Calendar, Drive, etc., the dedicated search app for iOS is no slouch either. The app’s latest update has added real-time voice search to the mix, making searching the so much easier. Comparing the updated Google Search app to Siri or Google Now, however, doesn’t really fit, as the update adds nothing more than simple voice input to the app. Having said that, the voice input is smart enough to understand long sentences, and yields Google Now-like interactive information cards. It will even speak some answers out for you if you set U.S English as the language. Google has really thought things through regarding the update, as is evident from the detailed list of options for voice features. Users can choose the language they want and configure the app to work with Bluetooth microphones.
The new voice search button is located in the middle of the bar at the bottom of the app’s home screen. You can start using it straight away, but to get the most out of voice input, it is better if you head to the Settings menu of the app before making a query. From the Voice Search section of the Settings menu, users can toggle off the voice input method, control the feature’s working over Bluetooth and choose the default language. Voice Search supports more than 30 languages and accents, but answers are read out loud only if you select English (U.S).
The Speak answers back toggle can also be accessed from the search and results page by tapping the information icon located in the bottom-left corner. The information area also lists all types of queries that generate a spoken response. Spoken answers can be muted midway by hitting the speaker icon in the bottom bar
To perform a voice search, hit the mic icon that is shown on the keyboard, the main search area or at the bottom of the screen on the results page. Once you have spoken the search phrase or term, the app might present you with a result card, or if that isn’t available, a list of relevant webpages.
We found Google Search to have marvelous speech recognition capabilities. It rarely misses even a single word you say, and the spoken text is streamed in real-time, which makes the process of speaking longer sentences much more robust. The app is, as always, available for free on the iTunes App Store.