Quick hands-on with Google’s new iOS Search app update

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Back in August, Google announced that it would be bringing a substantial update to its iOS Search app, bringing natural voice dictation and various other features to Apple’s operating system. At that time, Google claimed that it would only take a few days for the update to hit devices.

Naturally, those few days turned into a few months, likely due to Apple’s approval process – and only today has the update been pushed out to the App Store and to devices with the app installed.

I’ve played with the new update for a while, and I have a few things to say about it. Join me as I discuss them!

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First and foremost, you should realize that this is very similar to Google Now on Android 4.1 and above. The voice recognition works in the same ways, and it shows you your results in a very similar manner, as well.

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In fact, even the voice that Google picked to speak your results back to you (if you have that feature enabled) is the same one that is used in Google Now.

To be perfectly clear, this is Google Now – without the Cards. And without the cards, the app can’t tell you how much longer you have on your commute to and from work.

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It also can’t tell you when your favorite football team wins or anything like that, but the design is so strikingly similar – and so amazingly beautiful – that most people won’t even know the difference.

Coming back to the iPhone from a Galaxy Nexus, one of the things I really missed was Google Now. It was Siri – tied into services that actually worked to my benefit. And although I won’t have a Cards replacement on my iPhone for at least another year, I am very happy with the new update to Google’s Search app. It’s beautiful, smooth, and it works incredibly well for anything I ask it.

Since the app is free, I highly suggest you download it right away and see for yourself just how great Google’s voice search technology works across every platform – and every iDevice, since this update also includes support for the iPhone 5’s new 4-inch screen.

I guess the only other thing I want out of this update is that Apple sees it as a threat and works vigorously to fix Siri.

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Download: iTunes

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Calob Horton

Calob Horton is an associate editor at Pocketables. He loves all technology, no matter which company it comes from. This unbiased view of the tech world allows him to choose the products that best fit his personal needs and tastes: a Microsoft Surface Pro, a Samsung Galaxy Note 3, and a third-gen iPad.Google+ | Twitter | More posts by Calob | Subscribe to Calob's posts

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5 thoughts on “Quick hands-on with Google’s new iOS Search app update

  • Avatar of hisuwh

    I’m surprised Google have release this, I’d have thought they would have kept it as a USP of Android.
    Apple wouldnt exactly release siri on android

  • Avatar of Gaffer

    Just a ploy by Google to lure apple fanboys over to Android.

  • What made you go to the iPhone from the Galaxy Nexus?

    It’s pretty neat to compete with Siri on Siri’s own platform. I think they’re looking to retain/increase Google search volume from iThings.

    • Avatar of Calob Horton

      iOS, in my opinion, is just more refined than Android is. Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean have undoubtedly made huge strides in closing that gap, but I still prefer iOS. Plus, there are so many great apps in the App Store, more than I seem to ever find in the Play Store for whatever reason.

  • Avatar of D. Stroya

    I like this idea, give android the optimal experience but still give something nice and usable to the competition. A fair compromise given the strained relationship of the two companies as of late.


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