We knew it was coming, but Google has now finally pushed out their new and improved voice search enabling update to the Chrome browser for iOS. The update brings Chrome for iOS up to version 27, and in line with the desktop and Android versions of the browser.
An update is due to hit for Google Chrome on iOS in the coming days, and with it we'll see their new voice search capabilities added to the Omnibox. Having just rolled out a similar feature to Google Chrome for Mac -- albeit using the Google home page instead -- it seems the iOS version is next on the list.
Shown off last week during the Google I/O keynote for the first time, the latest stable channel update to Google Chrome for Mac brings with it the voice search functionality. The full contextual search doesn't yet seem active, but basic click, ask a question, get a response voice search is up and running and ready for your searches.
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.
UPDATE: iPhone dev extraordinaire Erica Sadun investigated over at Ars and found the following: Google is both linking to Private Frameworks and using unpublished APIs. While the latter is likened to jaywalking, the former is apparently a ban-worthy offense. Yikes. Check out her complete investigation for more. And now that it's public, the question shifts to what if anything Apple will do about it? Cave to Google over a killer feature and betray the confidence of other developers, or yank Google's app, alienating a huge (if guilty) partner and likely creating another furor among users?