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Google Search

Version 4.0 of Free Google Search App Adds Conversations, Compares Favorably with Siri

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I like Siri, but Google Search (free) is definitely an alternative worth considering. Last week Google released version 4.0 which now lets you have a "smarter conversation with Google." For example, you can ask, "What's the weather like?" and Google will return information about the current weather. But then you can ask a follow-up question that depends on the earlier question for context. You can say, "How about this weekend?" and the app will understand that you're asking what the weather will be like this weekend. The ability of Google Search to use previous questions as context for understanding is an impressive step in adding intelligence to these handy voice-controlled assistants. A review on ZDNet says that the capabilities of Google Search "embarrass Siri," which the reviewer now finds to be "woefully inadequate."



Voice Recognition Smackdown: Siri vs. Android

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Any comparison of iPhone and Android is bound to generate heat, but I thought David Pogue's smackdown between Siri and Android voice recognition was informative. The bottom line: the iPhone is better for dictation and for voice control of apps. But Android blows Siri away when it comes to web searches. 

Siri's dictation gets the edge because it understands a variety of formatting controls, such as "all caps," and all punctuation, such as "dash" and "ellipsis." Android just understands basic punctuation such as "comma," "period," and "exclamation point." Android, however, can do dictation even if you're not online whereas Siri requires an Internet connection. And Android transcribes as you talk, whereas Siri waits until you pause.



'Google Now' Released Today for iPhone and iPad

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Google's "predictive search" technology enables your device to intuit what you need and search for it without your even having to ask. That technology debuted last year on Android devices, and as of today, it's available on the iPhone and iPad in the free Google Search app. Google's biggest competitor to Siri, Google Now senses what you need and automatically gives it to you on a "card" that pops up from the bottom of the screen. For example, if you're heading to work, it will automatically pop up a card with a traffic update. Or if you're planning to take a flight, it will automatically pop up a card if there are changes to your flight. Google's tagline for the app is, "Right info at the right time."



Google Search -- free search app now has new interface

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Last week Google released a new version of Google Search (free). This is a great app, with voice search and the Google Goggles feature that lets you search by taking a picture. The update has implemented a new interface that's pretty cool. If you swipe right in the search results, you'll get a menu along the left (as in the image) that lets you refine your search. Check out this video demo on PocketNow.



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