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Google Lends Voice To Search

David A. Utter
Staff Writer
Published: 2006-04-12

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There is a better way to perform a search query on Google via a mobile phone than tapping a lengthy string of numbers, and that would be by speaking normally to the search engine.

Google has the patent to accomplish that now. ResourceShelf noted the awarding of a patent to Google for a "voice interface for a search engine."

Monica Henzinger, Alexander Franz, Brian Milch, and Google co-founder Sergey Brin received co-inventor credit for the newly awarded patent. The patent application provided an abstract of what the technology aims to accomplish:

A system provides search results from a voice search query. The system receives a voice search query from a user, derives one or more recognition hypotheses, each being associated with a weight, from the voice search query, and constructs a weighted boolean query using the recognition hypotheses. The system then provides the weighted boolean query to a search system and provides the results of the search system to a user.

Wireless network providers will love to see Google implement voice search. Every search performed during peak usage periods consumes the limited minutes cellular providers include with their monthly plans. Going over those peak minutes means lots of per-minute charges the providers can add to a monthly bill.

Mobile users with Internet access, particularly on smartphones, have probably become used to the small screen's browser on their phones. Google has a significant presence on mobile phones globally as it has a deal with Opera to make Google the default search on the Opera Mini browser for cellphones.

Opera released Opera Mini for use on any Java-supported handset. Google is also the default search for Opera Mobile, which uses Small-Screen Rendering technology to make the mobile browsing experience similar to that on a PC.

Google will have to develop or acquire a virtually flawless voice recognition system with a massive database of terms and the ability to discern a broad variety of accents to make a voice search service as effective as possible. Speech recognition technology has advanced greatly over the years. Fortunately, Google has Kai-Fu Lee, an authority on natural language, in its employ.

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About the Author:
David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

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