Wednesday, November 25, 2009 | 3:15 PM
If you've been to Times Square in New York City over the past couple weeks, on any day from 12:30-2:00pm or 6:30-8:00pm, you may have noticed that Google Search by voice is powering Times Square's largest combined displays -- the Reuters Sign and the NASDAQ sign. Anyone can call 888-376-4336 and say the name of a business or a location that they want to search for, like "museum of modern art" or "pizza". Then, the query and local search results from Google will appear on one of the two electronic billboards. This is all part of Verizon's "Droid Does" campaign and has been developed in partnership with Reuters and R/GA, a digital advertising agency.
On Black Friday, Times Square's gigantic interactive search-by-voice demo will be running for 20 hours straight. So if you're in the area and have a chance to take a break from your shopping, or if you want to see your next shopping destination displayed on a Google map on the huge signs, give the demo a try and let us know what you think. And for those of you that aren't in Manhattan on that day, you can still watch the action via webcam.
I flew out to New York last week to try it myself. R/GA gave me a behind-the-scenes tour of the setup, and I was impressed by how they pulled this off. A caller's voice is sent through the phone system, directly into a small farm of real Droids running voice search that are connected to the big outdoor electronic displays! R/GA developers made use of the Android voice recognition API just like any Android developer can.
It's been quite a ride for the search by voice team -- from launching on the iPhone about a year ago, to our launches on BlackBerry and Android, and on S60 in Mandarin Chinese, to powering billboards in Times Square. We're thankful for the chance to work on technology that excites us and that can help more of you search faster and more easily on your phone. And we hope you've been noticing the ongoing improvements in the accuracy of our voice recognition. We can't wait to show you what we have in store for next year.
Happy Thanksgiving to all!