In Search of Voice Search for iPhone

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Google took a step closer to making the stuff of science fiction reality on Friday when it launched its voice-enabled search application for the iPhone. However, despite a well-publicized launch and user interest in trying out the free app, the capability has yet to appear on Apple’s iPhone App Store. Even Google, it seems, is forced to play the waiting game when it comes to Apple’s mysterious approval process for iPhone apps.

Since the App Store launched earlier this year, developers around the world have contributed an explosion of useful and forward-thinking apps. However, the approval process for new apps ran into difficulties right from the beginning. The idea seemed clear enough: Submit your app to Apple, the company checks to make sure the app doesn’t violate any of Apple’s policies and voila, a new app is born. Only things have never been that easy.

Problems became apparent with Nullriver’s tethering app that would provide internet service to a laptop via the iPhone. At first it was on the App Store and then it was gone; then it was back and then it was gone again with no explanation as to why. Then there was the “I Am Rich” fiasco, an app that cost $1000 and only displayed a picture of jewel. Many other useless apps would enter the store, while others would be refused for unknown or confusing reasons. As a result, many critics have called for a restructuring of the approval process.

Google’s voice-activated search works by recording your voice and then sending a digital file to Google where it is processed into text. Then it goes to the search engine as text and results are returned to the iPhone. Google says the whole process takes seconds, and many are eager to try it out. But with no word from the App Store gods at Apple, it’s anybody’s guess when or if the application will show up. Perhaps Google should have developed the technology for its own Android-based phone first.

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