Google Maps is experimenting with speech recognition technology for its mobile users. The lucky guinea pigs are owners of the Blackberry Pearl 8110, 8120, and 8130 in the US. This is the same voice search technology that they use in their free directory service, GOOG-411.
This service proves to be very useful for many mobile users who lack the time or patience to type the long names of the places they want to go to. It will hopefully also add a level if safety as it could help to keep peoples hands and eyes off their phones and on the road, because even knowing the danger people still insist on using a mobile phone while driving. Here are the simple steps:
- Press “0” to center the map view around your location
- Press the left-side key and hold it while you say the name or type of business you’re looking for (for example, “pizza”)
- When you’re done speaking, release the left-side key, and our voice recognition technology will figure out your request and find the business you’ve been looking for, no typing needed.
But voice search is not entirely new in mobile web. In fact, Google is a late comer in this arena. Live Search for Windows Mobile has already incorporated this feature in its services. Yahoo! oneSearch, on the other hand, is using Vlingo’s speech technology. As they say, better late than never.
Google Maps is quick to remind the users that this service is still in testing stage, meaning it’s not 100% accurate and will evolve over time.