Google Now Includes Gmail in Search Results

Yesterday, in a blog post titled “Building the search engine of the future, one baby step at a time“, Google unveiled some interesting information about the future of its search engine. Perhaps its most surprising announcement, is that it plans to include information from your Gmail account in your search results.

gmail result
Gmail Search Results (Courtesy Google Blog)

At the moment, this program is voluntary and you have to join their field trial to participate in the service. The link for the trial is Pictured above, you can see an example of what the Gmail results might look like. In Google’s example, they imagine that you may be going on a biking trip. When you type the search query “biking in tahoe”, you will get the typical search results, but out to the side you will see email results from friends where they may have suggested good trails or eateries nearby.

Some other cool features they’re considering involves organizing information from Gmail in a very readable way. The example they used was typing the query “my flights” into the search box. Pictured below, you can see they pull the pertinent information from your email and display directly on your search results page.

(Courtesy Google Blog)

Google is trying to make its search more relevant. One of the ways it wants to do this is by making information more personal. The biggest threat to Google search is Facebook. Simply put, Facebook has ridiculous amounts of personal information on its users and if it ever figures out a way to “monetize” this information, look out Google! Another point that Google made was about its voice recognition service. Below, you can watch a sample of Google’s enhanced speech recognition for search.

[Video Link]

Google is trying to do everything it can to enhance its search. It seems that most of its diversification attempts haven’t been very successful which leaves it in the vulnerable position of being a one trick pony. Unfortunately, past endeavors to tap into user data exposed some serious privacy issues. It appears that Google is being a little more cautious with this attempt as it currently is an opt-in service.

Siri On Apple’s iPhone 4S is Serious Business

Let’s face it, Apple started and hyped the entire ‘app metaphor’. They made it important to have a centralized distribution center for software  and  bundle it into an ecosystem — where multiple layers of hardware and software interact and have clearly defined relationships. With the not-so-recent push to “web technologies”, browsers are becoming the dashboard for data and dedicated ‘apps’ are taking the back-burner. We’ve been slowly moving away from using a specific source to get specific information. This is where voice control comes into play.

Voice control has been around for years. Everybody knows about Nuance, Windows Voice Command and the Mac OS text-to-speech widget, yet they have an extremely limited scenario for usage. People use voice control on their mobile devices for simple tasks like dictation, music control or calling people. Siri on is going to change this. Although it was available in the App Store previously, now that Siri is integrated into iOS5, things are going to be different.

I’ll say the majority of mobile usage can be separated into 2 streams; either you’re giving information, or you’re getting information. Sending emails, taking pictures or replying to text messages, falls under giving. Browsing the web, listening to music/podcasts or using navigation software, falls under getting.

The purpose of Siri is to abstract both of these activities into a single method of interaction. It’s  appstraction!  Current smartphones owners have learned to launch apps to complete tasks. It requires active thought in order to do so. I want the weather, so naturally I am going to open a weather app. I want to set an alarm for tomorrow, so I’ll open the alarm/clock app. There is an active thought, a solution to the thought and then physical interaction with the mobile device begins. It’s an extremely recently-learned response. Speech, however, isn’t. Most of us have been talking since we were at least 3.

Speech is an immediate and direct subset to thought. It’s the next easiest thing to do — ask a question, get an answer. Using speech to get and give information is inherent to humans. It’s intuitive. It’s fast and it’s (usually) straight forward. If there’s one thing that Apple has been able to do, it’s provide relatively intuitive interfaces and experiences, on a consistent basis. Consistency is key.

Most people are lambasting Siri because they don’t want to talk to their phones. Voice usage is down, data usage is up. We know you don’t want to talk to people, let alone your phone. Stop trying to imagine yourself in a crowded subway station or mall, yelling at your phone in order to dictate an e-mail. You can still type it out on the horrid virtual keyboard. Now imagine you’re in bed and you forget to set an alarm. Don’t lift the glaring screen to your face, tap an icon, fat-finger the input to 7 AM and then put it back down. Lean over, press the home button and say “Wake me up at 7 AM”. Roll over and go to sleep. You didn’t even open your eyes.

I know change is hard. You want to interact with your phone. You want to hold and look at your phone. You want to swipe and flick through the interface on your phone. Except when you don’t want to and you simply want to get something done. Siri simply enhances your ability to reduce the amount of interactions it takes to get something done. Most consumers use technology because it betters their life. Siri will drastically reduce complications you have with your iPhone, if you want it to.

Voice Search In Google Chrome

Most of the smartphones today have the ability to accept voice commands and perform actions. Wouldn’t it be great if you could just speak something and get things done on your PC too?

Google Chrome Voice Search

Well, if you use , here is a great feature which will allow you to search several search engines by speaking. The called Voice Search is an experimental add-on which allows you to search Google or any other search engines by speaking out the words you want to search.

This is a really amazing add-on and goes on to show the capabilities built into Google Chrome. I tested this feature out to demonstrate how this works, the video is a bit grainy due to bad lighting; will upload another one shortly. Of course, the extension is not perfect and does not recognize all the words, however, once fully developed it would become a really good way to type text without having to use the keyboard.

(Click here if you can’t see the video)

Voice Search comes pre-loaded with the following default services: Google, Wikipedia, YouTube, Bing, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo and Wolfram|Alpha. You can also add your own user-defined search engines. It also integrates a speech input button for all websites using HTML5 search boxes, all of the default search engines’ websites, Facebook, Twitter, reddit, and GitHub.

Of course you require a microphone for this to work. Excited? Go ahead and download the Voice Search extension for Google Chrome now.

Google Voice Search Gets Personalized Recognition Feature

Voice_Search_PersonalizedGoogle launched its Voice Search service more than two years ago. Since then, the big G has added many features to its service and has improved it as well. Today, the company has added another new feature to Google Voice Search application Personalized Recognition.

If users will enable Personalized Recognition, then Google will collect your recordings and will automatically use them to build a speech model specifically for the user. However, as of now the feature is available only in the United States for English language only. Google intends to add support for more countries and languages in the near future.

The new feature is available only for Android handsets running Android 2.2 or higher. The new updated Voice Search application also contains some bug fixes and improvements to voice recognition and speed over 3G and EDGE.

Microsoft Bing Offers “integrated search and mapping” for Android. Is Awkward.

Well, well, well, isn’t this awkward? Microsoft Bing Community has launched an app for Android users under Verizon that offers integrated search and mappingfor all the Android users that lack this super-special and super-rare service that Google’s phones seem to lack (at least for the folks at Bing, we are assuming).


It also has voice-search capabilities which are hard to find on the Google phones.

Evidently, they are trying their luck at this gapin the market. No puns intended.