Google is really stepping up to the plate with their iPhone apps lately.  The New York Times is reporting that Google’s updated search app will allow voice-search with results based on location.  So things like "where is the nearest Starbucks" can be asked and answers will be given via the Maps application.  Amazingly cool if it works as promised.  It is hard not to be impressed by Google sometimes. 

From the Times:

The service can be used to get restaurant recommendations and driving directions, look up contacts in the iPhone’s address book or just settle arguments in bars. The query “What is the best pizza restaurant in Noe Valley?” returns a list of three restaurants in that San Francisco neighborhood, each with starred reviews from Google users and links to click for phone numbers and directions.

Raj Reddy, an artificial intelligence researcher at Carnegie Mellon University who has done pioneering work in voice recognition, said Google’s advantage in this field was the ability to store and analyze vast amounts of data. “Whatever they introduce now, it will greatly increase in accuracy in three or six months,” he said.

Google has obviously spent some time and put some polish on this:

An intriguing part of the overall design of the service was contributed by a Google researcher in London, who found a way to use the iPhone accelerometer — the device that senses how the phone is held — to set the software to “listen” mode when the phone is raised to the user’s ear.

We are hitting refresh on the App store every few seconds and will update when this goes live…

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