Voice control has been the holy grail of computing for many years, and smartphones are the perfect platform to see if this control system could actually deliver real benefits to users. Google has now released touchless Google Voice Search, and the first model that it appears on is its own Nexus 5.
The big question for voice control and voice recognition is not only how well the software can pick up and understand words, but the overall question or command that the user is trying to convey.
The first part of Google Voice Search is the ability to always be listening out for your command to activate search, in this case using the term “OK, Google”. This can be said while you’re on any home screen, and will bring up the voice search dialogue box.
From there, the test we did was not to trick Google Voice Search, but to use plain terms that we might use in everyday situations. After all, the point of intuitive voice control is not to have to learn any formats or sentence structures, but to simply recognise and comprehend the meaning of the command or search query.
This is exactly where I have been very impressed with Google Voice Search. Aside from the touchless control, which is still limited in that you have to be on a home screen, the questions I posed were not always that direct.
For example, when I asked Google Voice Search if I needed to wear sunglasses, I didn’t say “is it sunny” – Google had to work out the context for my question.
The other conversational aspect of the new Google Voice Search is the ability to follow up with new questions that don’t use all the original question information – for example, I asked “how deep is the deepest ocean” and, and after the answer followed up with “which ocean is that?” and Google Voice Search understood.
But instead of telling you about it, here’s a short segment on Google Voice Search with some cool and sometimes challenging voice-based queries.