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Expectations are mounting that a Google iPhone app will drop later today, bringing with it a minor revolution in how we conduct web searches. While it’s unclear whether this will be a new app or an update to the exiting Google iPhone application, it will support voice searching, allowing you to speak what you want to find into the iPhone’s microphone.
The source of the information is New York Times’ tech reporter John Markoff, who posts images of Google employees Vic Gundotra and Gummi Hafsteinsson posing with and using an iPhone running the new application. Users of the new app will be able to speak search terms, ask for directions using Google Local search, ask for restaurant recommendations based on reviews and proximity, and potentially do much more in future versions. Simple Google search functions like mathematical calculations are likely candidates for future implementations.
The technology behind the app is based on Google’s GOOG-411 service, an automated directory information product officially launched in March. It also incorporates accelerometer support to let the app know when the iPhone is being raised to the user’s face, based on the device’s speed and angle of tilt. According to Markoff, the engineers behind the app wouldn’t comment on its degree of accuracy, preferring instead to state simply that it will suffice for most users’ needs.
Today’s news flies in the face of earlier reports that Apple is planning to develop their own search engine tech because of a perceived rift growing between the two tech giants, since the voice-enabled software is making its debut on the iPhone, and not the Android-toting HTC G1.
Expect to see the new/updated application in the App Store as early as today.