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Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Google Brings Voice and Image Recognition To Desktop Search, Releases Instant Pages

In a media event in San Francisco, Google today announced that its bringing its speech recognition and computer vision technology to the desktop, and took the next step for Google Instant Pages.

Google claims that mobile search traffic growth over the past three years is comparable to overall Google search traffic growth over the same duration. One of the technologies driving this growth is speech recognition. With Google Voice Search, you don't have to type on a tiny touchscreen. You can just speak your query and the answer is on the way.

Google has been offering speech recognition on mobile search but today the company is added speech recognition into search on desktop for Chrome users. If you're using Chrome, you'll start to see a little microphone in every Google search box. By clicking the microphone, you will be able speak your search. Voice Search on desktop is rolling out now on in English, Google said.

Google also today introduced Search by Image on desktop. Next to the microphone on, you'll also see a little camera for the new Search by Image feature. If you click the camera, you can upload any picture or plug in an image URL from the web and ask Google to figure out what it is. Search by Image is rolling out now globally in 40 languages. Google is also releasing Chrome and Firefox extensions that enable you to search any image on the web by right-clicking.

To make picking up the right search results easier, last year Google introduced Google Instant, which gives you search results while you type. Today the company took the next step for Google Instant: Instant Pages. Instant Pages can get the top search result ready in the background while you're choosing which link to click, saving you another two to five seconds on typical searches. For example, let's say you're searching for information about the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, so you search for [dc folklife festival]. As you scan the results deciding which one to choose, Google is already prerendering the top search result for you. That way when you click, the page loads instantly.

Instant Pages will prerender results when Google is confident you're going to click them. Google said thatits relevance technology can fairly accurately predict when to prerender. To use Instant Pages, you'll want to get our next beta release of Chrome, which includes prerendering.

Google also introduced a revamped version of its Web site for mobile devices, which the company hopes will make it easier for people to find local restaurants and attractions. The newly designed search page for mobile devices incorporates features of Google's search apps directly into the the Web interface and adds easy-to-touch quick search buttons for commonly used mobile and location-based searches.

Text entry has also been simplified, and Google has added its Query Builder "plus sign" which breaks Google Instant suggestions into smaller parts so users don't have to type out full, long queries on their mobile device, but instead they can build a query word by word with Google Instant suggestions. The magnifying glass icon has also been added, which brings up Mobile Instant Previews which are the high-level page screenshots that can be scrolled through one by one to check results before you click on them.

Google also said a tablet-based search UI will be debuting in a few weeks.

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