Google Voice Search for iPhone, iPad Gets Update

Apple's Siri voice-recognition system will soon have more competition on Apple devices as Google plans to debut an improved version of Google Voice Search for iOS users.

Siri better watch out-Google Search's own enhanced version of an Apple Siri-like voice-recognition system will soon be ready for iOS users on Apple iPhones and iPads so they can conduct more accurate Google Web searches using voice commands.

The new capability was unveiled in a Google Blog post Aug. 8 from Amit Singhal, the senior vice president of Google Search.

The Google Voice Search service, which is already available for Android users, allows users to get an answer by verbally asking a question through a user's Android device, just like Siri does for iOS users.

Several third-party Android apps have been around for a while, which allow Android users to get Siri-like voice-activation services on their devices. Google already offers its Voice Actions app for Android to provide such capabilities, as well as a Google Search app for Apple, Android and BlackBerry smartphone users, but the upcoming Voice Search app will pull in even more Google resources for better search results.

"Often the most natural way to ask a question is by asking aloud," wrote Singhal in his blog post. "So we've combined our speech-recognition expertise, understanding of language and the Knowledge Graph so that Voice Search can better interpret your questions and sometimes speak the answers back as full sentences. This has been available on Android for a few weeks and people love it. It'll soon be available on your iPhone or iPad (iOS version 4.2+)."

No release date was announced by Google for the updated new app.

So how will it work?

Users on iPhones and iPads will do just what they do now when they use Siri-press a button or icon and ask a question aloud into the device's microphone. "For example, ask 'What movies are playing this weekend?' and you'll see your words streamed back to you quickly as you speak," wrote Singhal. "Then Google will show you a list of the latest movies in theaters near you, with schedules and even trailers. It works for everything from celebrity factoids to the height of Kilamanjaro and more. When Google can supply a direct answer to your question, you'll get a spoken response too."

Since the introduction of the Siri voice service in the iPhone 4S that debuted last fall, Apple device users have had Siri to assist them in doing Web searches, making calls, organizing their calendars and more.

With the new Google Voice Search aimed right at iPhone and iPad users, they will now have an option to use more accurate Google Voice services on their Apple hardware, which will certainly ramp up the continuing and escalating battle between Google and Apple.

On Aug. 7, Apple announced that Google's YouTube app will not be included in the next version of iOS, starting with the upcoming iOS 6. The YouTube app had been included in each version of iOS since the iPhone hit the market in 2007.

In May, Apple announced that it will drop the highly popular Google Maps app from its iPhones and iOS operating system and replace it with Apple's own mapping services.

The Apple-Google battles follow Google's development and the widespread popularity of its Android mobile phone operating system, which is in direct competition with Apple's iOS and products.

According to a recent report from data analysis firm Chitika, that race between the two mobile operating systems is evening up as Android development is perhaps finally catching up to iOS development in terms of the interest of app developers from around the world.