Google Expands Voice Search in Google Maps

Google yesterday released a version of its Google Maps application that lets users of Windows Mobile and Symbian S60 phones search by voice. Users of BlackBerry and Android phones have had this capability for a while. The application is still unavailable for Apple’s iPhone.

“We understand that typing on phones isn’t as easy or fast as talking into them,” Google Mobile Team software engineers Yuliang Wang and Yifei Zhang wrote in a blog post on Google’s Web site April 21. “As a result, we’re big fans of letting you search in Google Maps for Mobile in the most natural way possible -- with your voice.”

Search by Voice lets users search for anything by simply speaking their search terms instead of typing them. They simply open Google Maps, press the call button on their phones, and clearly speak their search terms. They can search by place or business name, address, or type of business, such as “sushi restaurants in New York.”

To get started, users need to install the latest version of Google Maps for Mobile 4.1 for Windows Mobile and Symbian S60 by going to m.google.com/maps in their phone’s standard Web browser. This update is available in all the countries and languages where Google Maps for mobile is currently available.

The application also features a redesigned settings page with Search by Voice language choices. “Choose your preferred language from the supported options, including multiple English accents and Mandarin Chinese,” Wang and Zhang wrote in the blog posting. “Also, if you find a problem with any information in Google Maps, you can use the ‘Report a problem’ option to let us know.”

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