Google for foreigners

Speech recognition is a wonderful thing – “typing” by talking proved brilliant whilst I was studying, and the new speech-controlled search app by Google for the iPhone is a nifty piece of technology. There’s one problem though: I’m Scottish.

No, really, this can be a problem. I had to spend ages training my computer to understand me before I could write an essay at college, and the Google app is optimised for North American voices. So, speaking neither the Queen’s nor the President’s English, I wondered whether voice activated search would work.

The simplest test would be to try some sample searches and see what came up, so I went with these:

  • Pictures of the Bugatti Veyron
  • Things to do in Glenrothes
  • Kitchen Designers
  • Italian Restaurant
  • Flights from Edinburgh to London
Google Voice Search

The results were pretty good (see the pic). I even got local results for the Italian Restaurant query. It would seem that the app isn’t good at picking up odd words, like Bugatti, Veyron, or Glenrothes. It is, however, more than capable of understanding more common words and phrases even when spoken in a Scottish accent.

As well as all this, the app contains shortcuts to many of Google’s web-apps, which is handy if you don’t want to clutter your iPhone screen up with icons. It’s a decent application, which you would expect from Google, and a great addition to your phone.

Google Mobile Application is available from the Apple App Store. It is also available on Blackberry, although without voice search at time of writing.

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