updated 02:49 pm EDT, Wed August 8, 2012
App takes aim at iOS' built-in Siri
Google has announced that within the next few days, the official Google Search app for iOS will be upgraded with natural-language voice requests. Users should, for instance, be able to ask about the weather in a complete sentence and see a forecast, or have the app find the answer to a math question. Some other possibilities include asking for information like sports scores or movie showtimes.
While the feature is similar to Siri, the voice command system built into the iPhone 4S, it doesn't bring up dedicated applets for different request types. Instead it presents results in a way little different any other search in the app, except that it provides a vocal response, and opens any links a person taps inside a Chrome-style tab. There are some exceptions however; asking the app to play a video, for instance, will open a tab that jumps straight to a video at the YouTube website. The app is also notably aware of a user's identity; asking "When is my flight?" can call up results, so long as the right info is tied to a person's Google account.
Google comments that it submitted the update about a week ago, and is "working with Apple" to get it into the App Store. The two companies may be sorting out technical issues, although Apple has rejected some Siri-like apps in the past.