From the desert to the sea: Google Voice Search experiments

Wednesday, October 26, 2011 | 3:24 PM

(Cross posted from the Google Australia Blog)

As an engineer I like to solve problems and I like to test stuff, the bigger the better. A couple of months ago I was intrigued by a challenge: Australians have the second highest smartphone penetration in the world (second only to Singapore) but we have one of the lowest usage rates of Google Voice Search. This had some of us scratching our heads, because Google Voice Search understands our Australian accents.

So we thought it would be fun to show Australians how well Google Voice Search works by conducting a series of experiments in remote Australian locations. I went to the middle of the South Australian desert with James, a fellow engineer. We found some of the hottest, reddest earth in the country to test a long distance voice search - 50 metres away from the phone! Here’s our adventure:

Meanwhile, our fellow Google engineers Noel and Alice went up north to the beautiful Great Barrier Reef, to test Google Voice Search underwater.

Now that you’ve seen what Google Voice Search can do, we hope these experiments will inspire you to try it yourself in a more everyday setting, and with your broadest Aussie accent!

You can use Google Voice Search on Android phones by pressing the microphone button on the homescreen or downloading the app. You can also download the app for the iPhone here.

Posted by Mike Lawther, Software Engineer.


Glenn Stephens said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Glenn Stephens said...

I would love to use the Voice search, however the memory requirements makes it a tough choice to install on my phone.

Also, the fact that it refuses to work with any bluetooth headset makes it unusable in the car.

The fact it won't work with bluetooth is actually deliberate software design decision, not a fault with the individual device.

Decisions like this are why there isn't the take-up your expecting.

Unknown said...

I had no idea that the bluetooth was disabled, I thought my car bluetooth was broken... I use google search by voice ALL THE TIME and would use it more if it worked with blue tooth.

Will said...

Voice search works with bluetooth for me...

Anonymous said...

I cant believe that there is network coverage in middle of the desert. Very funny.

rgl said...

I don't use the voice search function as much as I like, because of its accuracy. For example, I tried voice search on "zebra". However, the Google voice search result keeps giving me "seabra". Thus I gave up and typing it on keyboard instead.

Damien said...

Sorry guys - it just doesn't happen that way. I have a typical aussie accent (Melbourne born and bred) and when I ask the "How to treat brown snake bites" question on my Galaxy S using the latest Google search app I get a "Did you mean.." box with the following:

how to treat brand night lights
hoe to treat brand night fights

However if I speak it using my best american accent it gets it right first time.

So I'm not sure what app was used in the videos above, but they don't appear to be the same the rest of us have.

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jhon apps said...

that is great blog sir.
one thing that if i am in Desert so
will my apps work ?

Custom facebook app

Tâm Trí Tín said...

I cant believe that there is network coverage in middle of the desert. Very funny.

The Ozonu said...


Excell Print said...

we are facing some problem with voice function searching. it does not accept a clear voice which we want to search.

printing companies

Redorange said...

innovative..... impresssive and undoubtly usefulllllllll

K.Selezneva said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

K.Selezneva said...

I think, Google Voice Search is one more reason to say "Thank you" to Google developers. I like their ideas for making our life easier and more convenient. My favorite Google app is Google Goggles, I've devoted to it an article in my blog. A step to augmented reality with Google Goggles

Unknown said...

ohh.. you mentioned Singapore. But.. unfortunately, it doesn't really recognise Singaporeans' accents, nor names. Not to mention destinations..

Are there plans to make it more usable for Singaporeans?