Google Search by voice travels the world, finds Nokia, learns Chinese

Monday, November 2, 2009 | 7:55 AM

(cross-posted with Official Google Blog)

Google Search by voice has grown up quickly. Some might say that search by voice has matured from a toddler to a tween. It's certainly been traveling across the English-speaking world and getting better at understanding a range of accents, from the US, UK, India, and Australia. Today it's taking another big step — we're happy to announce that Google search by voice is available for Nokia S60 phones, and now understands Mandarin Chinese.

Nokia S60 phones are popular around the world. If you have an Nseries or Eseries phone such as the N95 or E71, you're using S60. Many of these phones have 12-digit keypads — good for making calls, but not so easy when you need to type a few words. Many of you have asked if we could build our search by voice feature for these phones, and we've been working on this feature for a while.

The new version of Google Mobile App places a shortcut to Google search on your Nokia phone's home screen, allowing you to search using your voice or by typing. You can search for anything — from "movie times", to "fish 'n chips", to "masala dosa." It doesn't matter if you're in London or Bangalore: we'll use your location to give you nearby results. And Google Mobile App shows search results in the application, so you don't have to wait for a web browser to launch to get an answer.

Although it has taken a little while to get this release ready, we have been planning the launch for some time as you can see from this footage from the archives.



Up until now voice search has only been available in English, but the new version of Google Mobile App for Nokia S60 devices works for Mandarin speakers, too. We're really proud of the work we've done with Mandarin speech recognition, both because it's the most spoken language in the world, and because of the engineering challenge. To get Mandarin speech recognition to work, we had to learn a lot about this fascinating language — the differences between traditional and simplified Chinese, its tonal characteristics, automatic segmentation of text into words, pinyin representations of Chinese characters, sandhi rules, the different accents and languages in China, unicode representations of Chinese character sets...the list goes on and on.

Mandarin speakers can now search by voice for complex queries like 清华大学附近的水煮鱼 (which translates to "water-boiled fish near Tsinghua University"). Although this only works on the Nokia S60 at the moment, we're working on adding support for Mandarin speech recognition to our products on other mobile platforms, such as Android and iPhone. And bear in mind that this is a first version of our system in Mandarin, and it might not be as polished as our English version. For example, if you have a strong southern Chinese accent, it might not work as well as for people with a Beijing accent. However, our system will improve over time, so please give it a try!


Google Mobile App in Mandarin Chinese

Note that the application is for version 3 of Nokia S60 - more recent phones running version 5 (touch screen) are not yet supported.

To download the new version of Google Mobile App on your Nokia S60 phone, visit m.google.com from your phone's browser. For questions and support, visit our Help Forum.

33 comments:

Jeff said...

please make it in french...

DanielZ said...

Just downloaded it to my E71 - doesn't work at all. Application won't launch

frafam said...

Really works well on my E61 :) Looking forward to the same on Android soonest..

Gustav said...

Doesn't work on my Nokia E71 either, unfortunately. Tried reinstalling and rebooting but to no avail.

Mircho said...

Doesn't work at all on E66 also.
How can now downgrade?

Bret said...

For questions and support, try posting in the Mobile Forum or visiting the Mobile Help Center. You can access both through here: http://www.google.com/support/mobile/bin/topic.py?hl=en&topic=14770

kEnny said...

It works great on the 6650 Fold, too!

Thank you very much!

Sid said...

Excellent Job it understands some of my Hindi as well.:P

Alphonse said...

Doesn't work on my N82.

sriraj said...

Ummm 'masala dosa'. Thats what I'm eating now.
Sadly, it looks like Google search bot has never tasted 'Idly', as it always look for 'Italy' when I say 'Idly'

lssoh said...

Doesn't work with Nokia E63...! Can't launch either using the backspace key as indicated by the on-screen pop up or directly from my installation folder.

Jono said...

To continue a theme...

Doesn't launch on my N95.

Magic_12 said...

that's fine, but i can't understand why Android is always the last platform updated ?

we are still waiting for layers in google maps, and now voice search is better on S60 ...

muruki said...

Doen't work on my N81 as well. I'm wondering if it's a scum of some sort! It won't launch.

Bertoldo e Andréa said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Bertoldo said...

Do not work in N97. It seems some problem at application launch process.

nn said...

works great with E71x on AT&T with data plan otherwise you are in trouble with $$$ bill..

infd said...

it does not start on E51. I reinstalled and rebooted but still does not start. Any hint?

Martin Strnad said...

Does not work for my Nokia N95 in Czech Republic, Telefonica O2 provider.
The application installs without problems, but can’t be executed/.

firmware 21.0.016

Dev said...

Hope Google releases an update soon to make it work on all the S60 V3 ones. I use an E71 and as said by others, it doesn't launch!!!

Lingovista said...

also doesn't work on nokia 5730.
but old google search ok.

YepFoto said...

previous version can work with my e71. but the latest version now I cannot even launch it.

Guy Nicholson said...

does not work on my N95 running latest Nokia firmware: app does not launch :(

chinmaya said...

works Perfectly on Nokia 5320 XM fw revision 5.16.

Bare Gaze said...

I installed the google mobile app on my Nokia 5800 Xpress music phone. Series 60 5th edition OS. It works fine. The menu options and the icons on the screen respond to touch activation. Voice search works ok - I deliberately said hello hello - the app searched for Paulo Coelho! Minor phonetic cognition problem happens to voice recogition bots - like confusing I Scream and Ice Cream! But it is more our tongue's fault than the app's fault I guess.

The point is - it works like charm like everything google but for a tiny glitch. The search box does not respond to finger/stylus touch. I tapped it many times but the touch type interface was not invoked. Please fix this numb spot.

Satkuru said...

woahhh finally i find others who have the same problem.

i am using e71 and i can't seem to launch the app T.T

helpppppp :)

Tester said...

Worked perfectly on E51 before the voice function. Now, it doesn't start at all! Tried reinstalling couple of times, nothing. Anybody else the same? Location Hungary.

luco said...

will not launch and can not downgrade. Anybody knows how to got alder version? E71 COLOMBIA

Dev said...

I've considered myself to be one of the biggest Google fans. But, if Google mobile is going to be only about Android/iPhone and nothing else, it translates to "Free=Apathy".

Even an update blog from one of the engineers stating that they are working on this would have done the trick!!!

Bret said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Bret said...

Dev and others,

You can follow this issue in the Google Mobile forum. We're currently looking into this issue:

http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/Google+Mobile/thread?fid=7012710304065920000477e7150f5ba1&hl=en

malmas said...

Hi

I cannot find the Search by Voice application on the android market any more!

What happened?

Using HTC Hero (GSM) in the UK

Dev said...

I really appreciate that Bret. Thanks a lot. Cheers!!!