Voice Search Stories April 7, 2015

Just so there’s no ambiguity on this point, I’m definitely an Apple TV fan. The first-generation model was a (literally) hot mess, but Apple did a much better job with the streamlined second- and third-generation versions, which I use every day and have strongly recommended for years. If you have an iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch, the Apple TV is one of the top three accessories you can buy for under $100, and nearly a no-brainer at Apple’s recently announced $69 price point.

Even as a fan, though, I give Apple TV’s chief competitor Roku great credit for developing compelling alternatives. According to reports, Roku is the number one seller of media streamers, and has been outselling the Apple TV for some time now. While it’s true that sales don’t necessarily reflect quality, Roku has earned its numbers by frequently iterating on its products — ironically unlike Apple, which has spent years letting an old Apple TV design chug along as a “hobby.” The difference in Roku’s and Apple’s approaches became starker yesterday when Roku released the new Roku 3 with Voice Search ($100) and new Roku 2 ($70), updates to two of its already-successful devices. These media streamers include several of the key features Apple should be adding to the Apple TV, including voice search, downloadable apps, games, and more…

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Voice Search Stories March 19, 2015

Google Maps iOS app adds full-screen maps, improved voice search & transit directions

Google Maps for iPhone and iPad has received an update to version 4.4.0 bringing a new full-screen map view, improved transit directions and voice search, and the ability to filter search results for Zagat-reviewed restaurants.

Google notes that the new full-screen mode can be activated by “tapping an empty spot on the map,” while improved voice search brings the ability to “type, or tap the mic and say, “directions to” a place for faster results.”

The update also includes new transit line colors on maps when viewing transit directions and a Zagat filter for restaurants in search results.

The updated Google Maps app for iOS, version 4.4.0, is available on the App Store now.

What’s New in Version 4.4.0

• View a full-screen map by tapping an empty spot on the map • See transit line colors on the map when you get transit directions • Filter search results for Zagat-rated restaurants (where available) • Type, or tap the mic and say, “directions to” a place for faster results • Bug fixes

Voice Search Stories November 5, 2013

The Google Search iOS app has received a huge update today that brings a number of new features including the ability to activate voice search handsfree. Users on iPhone 4S or later can now simply say “OK Google” to begin a voice search, much like what users have been able to do with Google Now on Android devices for quite some time.

Version 3.1.0 now includes notifications for upcoming events, flights and public transit. For example, the Google Search app will provide notifications for delayed flights, tell you how long you have to catch the last train, and remind you of upcoming appointments . You can also now set reminders within the app:

Ask Google to remember things for you. Just say • “Remind me to buy coffee beans at Starbucks,” or • “Remind me to check out the fair this weekend” and Google will remind you at the right time or place

In addition, Google says users can now set reminders for when their favorite musicians, tv shows, actors or celebrities are releasing new content or appear in headlines. There are also new cards in the app that display info for movie and event tickets, boarding passes, rental car reservations, public transit and upcoming events.

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Voice Search Stories July 17, 2013

Google has just issued a big update to its Chrome app for iPhone and iPad that brings new “interoperability with other Google Apps” and a number of other notable features. That means that you’ll now be able to open all links for YouTube, Maps, Google+ and Drive in their native apps instead of in the browser. You’ll also now be able to access the apps with a single tap from within Chrome.

The update also brings enhancements to the newly introduced voice search capabilities, including: always visible controls from the toolbar and text-to-speech support for “all variations of English, Spanish, German, Italian, French, Japanese, and Korean.”

Other improvements in today’s update include fullscreen support on iPad, easier access to browser history, and, according to Google, data cost savings:

Reduce data usage and speed up page load times. View data savings in Bandwidth Management settings. This feature is being rolled out and will be available to all users over time.

Google explained the experimental data cost savings feature in a whitepaper when it was first introduced on Android. In the document, Google says its tests showed the feature can reduce data usage by up to 50%: expand full story

Voice Search Stories June 3, 2013

As expected, Google updated its Chrome for iOS app to version 27 today after releasing updates for both desktop and Android late last month. The update includes a number of new improvements, the most notable of which is voice search that allows users to take advantage of the conversational voice search features Google already rolled out to Mac. Google previously announced the feature (pictured above), would be arriving on iOS, but today the updated app is officially available to all on the App Store.

With today’s update you will not only be able to search with your voice right within Chrome (a feature already available to users through the Google Search iOS app), you’ll also get “answers spoken back to you” for specific search results. Google first showed off the new conversational search features at its I/O event last month.

Other improvements in today’s update include faster voice recognition “with text streamed on the fly,” faster page reloads even on slow networks, and the usual stability and security enhancements. expand full story

Voice Search Stories May 22, 2013

Google rolling out voice search for Chrome on iPhone and iPad in coming days

Google announced today on its Chrome blog that a new update will soon be rolling out to its Chrome app for iPhone and iPad that will allow users to access voice search features previously limited to the Google Search app. Using the same omnibox currently included in the app, Google will soon allow users to tap a microphone icon to search using only their voice with a UI similar to the recently redesigned voice search on Mac.

Google said the updated Chrome app should be landing on the App Store in the coming days.

Google also noted that the updated iOS app would provide faster reloading of web pages and an option for third-party apps “to open links in Chrome and then return to the app with just one tap.”

Earlier today Google began rolling out revamped voice search functionality in the Chrome app for Mac users.

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