In its continuing effort to make searching the Web from mobile gadgets easier via voice instead of typing, Google June 15 said it has added voice search for Google Maps on Google Android-powered phones.
Instead of typing, users can search Google Maps for Android by speaking their destination queries, including home addresses, businesses and other locations.
Google’s voice recognition engine, which was rolled out to iPhone users first in fall 2008 and finally to Android users in February, is a key enhancement for the future of mobile computing. People, especially those with thick sausage fingers or big banana hands, are sick of typing on tiny keyboards.
You know who you are. Why should you continue be insulted with having to type in public when you can simply speak and find the information you’re looking for? You save time and frustration. Mobile Web use + voice recognition = easier Web surfing and increased productivity.
Voice search for Google Maps for Android now currently understands English in American, Australian and British accents. Once you’ve spoken your query, Google Maps for Android will direct you to a map of places, for which Google has improved its business listings, adding store hours, prices, ratings and reviews.
Google has also kindly added transit directions to the app so you can now get public transportation directions for over 250 cities, and walking directions for pedestrians to better hoof it around urban jungles.
Google also boasts a new experimental Google Latitude tool called Updates that lets users communicate with friends and post messages: “Start Latitude and click the ‘Updates’ tab to shout out updates at friends when they’re at interesting locations, start a conversation when you’re at your favorite restaurant, or just add more details to your Latitude location for your friends to see,” wrote Google Mobile engineers Ole CaveLie and Chandan Pitta in the post. How Twitterific!
However, unlike other Android software updates, the new Google Maps release won’t be automatically pushed to users’ T-Mobile G1 or HTC Magic phones over the next few days. Users must download the release from the Android Market. See posts on TechMeme for more coverage.
Google also recently rolled out a faster, easier-to-use beta version of iGoogle for the iPhone and Android devices. This build supports tabs and other gadgets, but those with Flash won’t work on iPhone and Android handhelds.