Quick App: Vlingo Voice Powered Search for iPhone

Looks like Google isn't the only one making sure that when a user talks, the iPhone listens. Vlingo wrote in to tell us that their well-known BlackBerry app is now available for the iPhone, and it sure looks like they've been listening as well!

Vlingo lets you:

  • Initiate calls to anyone in your address book.
  • Look up anything through Yahoo! or Google in one step. Just say, “Web search: concert tickets in Boston,” and the results are displayed.
  • Look up and map local listings. For example, by saying, “Find Italian restaurants in San Francisco,” vlingo will show choices and can populate Google Maps with the touch of a button.
  • Send Facebook and Twitter status updates without typing. Vlingo also automatically embeds a Web browser so users can easily access the mobile versions of Facebook and Twitter to keep track of their friends’ updates.

Google works pretty well, but doesn't include contact search (and seems to have trouble with British, Southern, or anything other than TV-ized North American accents.)

Vlingo does search contacts, and does a good job of it (and even suggests alternatives, which is welcome when it has trouble distinguishing between individuals with close-sounding names). However, unlike Google (which uses forbidden API's to access the phone-like "lift to your ear and start talking" functionality) you have to press a button, then talk, then press a button again when you're finished. There are helpful tutorials included to get you used to the process and on your way.

Gallery after the jump! [gallery]

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Quick App: Vlingo Voice Powered Search for iPhone


Just like Google, it also has trouble with English accents. It's pretty good at looking up my contacts, but has been accurate about 10% of the time when I try to do a web search or try posting to Facebook or Twitter. Still, it's far more useful than the Google app as it has more features and hopefully the voice recognition will improve with future updates.

tried google mobile apps and this. its ok. looking for improvements when update comes. thanks for info.

this app would be perfect if it were like google and could put it to your ear to find something.

As long as Google refuses to release its mobile apps in all app stores around the world, vlingo seems like a good alternative. Had no trouble finding places, searching the web and placing calls with it. My first twitter post checked out fine, too.

This is going to sound so dumb but this is a great app I just really didn't like the application icon!! Very bland lol, that's all.

I wish Vlingo would start by putting the phone to your ear. That's such a simple addition that could make the software ridiculously powerful. I could see myself never closing the application. Love the Twitter addition, but it doesn't seem safe to use whilst driving!