After some minor delay drama, Google/Apple last night went live with the Google Mobile App for iPhone. I've noticed the initial reactions have been overwhelmingly positive. Don't get me wrong, this is a really cool technology, but I don't see myself using this often enough (yet) to make it a truly revolutionary application.
First of all, the speech recognition is mildly accurate but not dead on. I notice that I have to speak slowly and in a quiet setting to get consistent results. I am rarely in this type of environment when this would be useful. It also displays results in a very tiny Google desktop formatted webpage. It'd be better to see those results in a results window formatted for iPhone.
Also, strangely, the location was a few Zip codes off. This is weird because the iPhone GPS is usually acurate to within block of where I live in downtown Manhattan. Why am I getting results from the Bronx?
Additionally, the upload of my voice commands isn't zip-a-dee-do-da fast like the video shows. This might be that fault of AT&T or new users might be overwhelming Google's system trying it out initially. I find that often, the entire process is slower than just typing in a Google search. This is obviously a big issue in my mind when I am thinking I want to get results as fast as possible.
Also, it isn't hands free -- or as much as I'd like it to be. You have to invoke the Google Mobile App for it to become responsive. That means you have to look down at your iPhone, find the app and open it. This takes a few seconds and isn't the kind of thing you should be doing while driving, for instance. It'd be cool if you could invoke it with a button click. I guess I can set up a triple home button tap for it.
Overall, yes, this is an amazing app, but there are a bunch of improvements to be made before it will be revolutionary.
Oh, and it doesn't recognize baby talk. WTH Google, get with the program already!
This story, "First Look: Google Voice Search App for iPhone" was originally published by Computerworld.