There are several features for Google that are available only on the mobile platform. These features tend to be based on the unique functionalities of smartphones and tablets. However, these platform-specific features are now getting fewer and further between. Today, Google implemented a voice search and image search, both of which have been available on mobile for quite some time.
We’re getting much closer to Star Trek technology; users can simply tell Google what they want to search for and get results. Users will need to use a current version of Google Chrome (although other web browsers are likely to get support in the future) and will need a system microphone. From there, users simply need to click on the new microphone icon located in the search bar (on the right) and say what they want to find.
Google’s results have been described as “surprisingly accurate,” and the company is even promoting the feature as useful for hard-to-spell terms. The feature will be available in the U.S. within the next week, but a global spread is likely to take some time. If you’re in the U.S., using Chrome 11 or higher, and have a mic, but you aren’t seeing the new icon, just check back in during the coming days; it’s expected that the feature will be implemented by the 22nd of June.
Search via Image
On the Google Image Search site (images.google.com), users will now see a camera icon the right-hand side. This icon allows users to input an image URL or upload an image to the search. Google will then look for other sites that have your image, sites that have similar images, and additional information on recognizable features (such as landmarks). The ability to search via images is based on the same technology as Google Goggles. Chrome and Firefox are also offering “search by image” extensions to make the process even faster.
[via the Inside Search blog]