Google Revamps Mobile Search and Announces Search by Image and Voice Search for Desktops

Posted by Diya on June 15, 2011 in Google

At a briefing in San Francisco on Tuesday, Google Inc demonstrated a new feature called Instant Pages, which allows certain Web pages to pop-up in a user’s Web browser nearly instantaneously, as well as a revamped version of its website for mobile devices.

Google’s Singhal said that consumers’ increased use of mobile devices benefits Google by allowing people to continue searching the Internet during times when searches on desktop PCs typically wane, such as after 9 pm, during the weekends and during the summer months. “There is no summer slump” with Internet searches on mobile devices, he said.

The features unveiled Tuesday include an option that will allow people to speak their search requests in English while sitting in front of their office and home computers. It’s something they can already do on smartphones running on Google Inc.’s Android software. For now, the spoken-request option for desktop computers will be offered only on Google’s Chrome browser. It will be activated by clicking on a microphone icon inside Google’s search box. Chrome’s users will get the new feature within the next few days.

Google hopes to eventually make all the features available through Microsoft Corp.’s Internet Explorer and Mozilla’s Firefox browsers, both which have wider audiences than Chrome. Eventually, people will be able to speak requests in other languages, too. The speech-recognition technology draws upon a database of more than 230 billion words that Google has built while processing spoken requests on phones for the past two and a half years.

So far Google’s market share has not shown any decline with 65.5 per cent of the US search market in May, up slightly from 65.4 per cent in April, according to Web analytics firm comScore. Yahoo Inc had 15.9 per cent of the market in May and Microsoft had 14.1 per cent. With traffic to its site increasingly coming from people on the go, Google introduced a new version of its mobile website that features large buttons that deliver information about nearby restaurants, gas stations and bank machines, among other things. Picture below :

Google also showcased a new search feature for desktop PCs that analyses an image and retrieves relevant information about it, such as which country appears to be depicted in the background of a family snapshot.

The company said its new Instant Pages feature could eliminate 2 seconds to 5 seconds from the time it takes for a user to conduct a Web search and arrive at the desired page. The technology works by predicting the search result a user is most likely to click and automatically downloading that page in the background.

“Every time we shave even 50 milliseconds from the search process, users search more and more,” said Google’s Singhal. Google said the Instant Pages feature will initially be available as an add-on to Google’s Chrome Web browser and that it planned to make it available for mobile devices in the coming weeks.

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