It’s been almost a year since Google introduced a feature that allows iPhone owners to search the Web using voice commands, and now Microsoft is getting into the game, too. As announced on the Bing Search blog, Sprint Wireless’ brand new Samsung Intrepid phone now comes equipped with a fresh voice user interface from Tellme, a speech-recognition company that was acquired by MS in early 2007.
As the video below demonstrates, you can use the new interface to search the Web by speaking your search query, compose a text message or dial a contact by simply talking instead of typing. The company cites a study from Sanderson Studio that found 40% of smartphone usage occurs in multitasking scenarios where the user cannot offer their undivided attention to their phone, and claims the new voice command feature should simplify their lives.
Despite what the title suggests, I think it’s perfectly fine for Microsoft to add features that plenty of people will find useful, whether Google came out with them ages ago or not. Competing companies copy stuff from each other all the time, so it’s hardly something to get overly worked up about.
Of course, the feature is restricted to just one phone on one carrier only for the moment, so in the meantime you can check out services like Dial2Do, although that application is more suited for action commands than searching the Web.
I hope in time Microsoft comes out with apps for the most popular platforms rather than keeping this type of feature phone-specific.