In addition to bringing Google Maps Navigation to Europe and Canada, Google has also unlocked Google search by voice for a couple of European languages. Voice is the easiest way to interact with a phone - speaking is typically faster and easier than typing. Google first developed Search by voice for English, and then for Mandarin Chinese and Japanese. But Google's goal was and still is to bring Google Search by voice to speakers of all languages by following a rigorous process to add each new language or dialect. Working directly with native speakers in each country, Google is spending weeks to collect spoken utterances to create the specific models which power the service.
Our helpers are asked to read popular queries in their native tongue, in a variety of acoustic conditions such as in restaurants, out on busy streets, and inside cars. Google also construct, for each language, a vocabulary of over one million recognizable words. Therefore, today's new additions are also designed for accents from Spain, France, Italy, and Germany. However, if you speak one of the new languages with another accent (for example, German in Austria, French in Switzerland, or Spanish in Mexico), Google mentions that Search by voice may not work so well for you.
To get started and if you have an Android 2.1 or later smartphone and you have the Quick Search Box installed, all you have to do is tap the microphone icon to start a voice-powered search. If you have Android 1.6 or 2.1 (Donut or Eclair), and you have already installed the Search by voice application, starting later today voice search will return recognition results for French, German, Italian or Spanish if your phone has one of those languages chosen in 'Language and keyboard' settings. If you do not have the Search by voice application, you can install it from Android Market on your phone - search for 'voice search'. This application is only available in the Android Markets for France, Germany, Italy and Spain.
Cheers ~ Arne