Google has updated its iPhone app. Overall the app is a bit cleaner and more user friendly. However, the update is relatively minor — there are some interface and settings changes — except in the area of voice search. Now a range of English accents are available: American, UK, Australian, Indian. Google has also added Mandarin and Japanese. Support for more languages are coming in the near future.
Despite the fact that Google Apps are right now richer on Android (e.g., Goggles, Navigation), the incarnation of voice search on the iPhone is the highest expression of Google’s product because of the way in which voice is initiated: by moving the handset up to the ear.
Google is pushing aggressively on multiple fronts to make itself the center of the mobile experience for end users:
- Voice search
- Traditional search
- Mobile products/shopping
- Image recognition/visual search
Google is battling lots of specialized apps that offer functionality or content that is deeper or richer than general search can provide. It’s also dueling a host of “horizontal” local content providers (e.g., Yelp).