Google today released a revamped search app for iOS that brings an advanced voice search feature that also talks back, much like Siri. Google already had the feature on Android and it works flawlessly. Users can search for images, videos, weather, points of interest, flight status and much more. I have been using the app for the past couple of hours and I find it more useful than Siri. Read on for my first impressions. Also Read - Google starts showing COVID-19 vaccine information in Search appAlso Read - Google shifts gear, reportedly plans to launch censored version of search engine for China
On installing the app, it automatically set my voice input to Indian English, which does not support voice feedback. However, that was rectified by changing it to US English from the settings menu. (Thanks to @preshit for the tip!) However, the accuracy takes a slight hit as Google’s voice recognition is almost flawless for Indian accents when it is set to the Indian English. Also Read - Google adds shortcuts to Search app on Android
The app is much faster than Siri. For the sake of comparison, I’d say the difference in speed is akin to a Formula 1 car and a Tata Nano – Google is light years ahead in this space. The accuracy, like I mentioned earlier, is also much higher on Google search than on Siri. I doubt it is a coincidence, but Google has launched the app on the same day Apple announced Scott Forstall, the senior executive responsible for Siri, would be leaving the company. This app is what Siri should have been on day one.
However, this Google voice search app does not have the flair or attitude as Siri. For starters, it does not have a name and does not feel like a personal assistant. But then, this is not what it claims to be, either, unlike Siri that was launched as a personal assistant. Asking Google search “who are you” resulted in ‘The Who’ album by the same phrase.
One of the features I really like is the ability to play YouTube videos within the app. So I could say the name of any video and it plays it right there even if the YouTube app is not downloaded on the device. I could also sign in to my Google account but I was not able to add new entries into my calendar or even view the calendar by using a voice command. I hope there is a way to do that and I will update this post in case I’m able to find it.
Of course, it is nowhere close to the Google Now service on Android but it is still good enough to replace Siri for me. And the best thing is it works even on the iPhone 4, which did not get Siri even after the iOS 6 update. I have placed Google search app on the dock for easy access and I’m pretty confident even you will end up doing the same if you give it a spin.
Based on my couple of hours of use, I highly recommend this app. You can download it from here for your iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. Also, do check out the official demo video below.