Patent #7,027,987 issued today by the US Patent and Trademark Office covers a “Voice interface for a search engine,”…Translation: the system listens to your spoken query, does its magic, and returns the results.
Google has not publicly commented on this voice search effort, although the company’s Alexander Franz did co-author a an article on the topic back in 2002 (PDF). Nevertheless, it is clear that this service would be ideal for users of Google’s mobile search. In fact, voice recognition could possibly power Google’s mobile search right into competition with local 411 services.
With voice recognition, Google would control the mobile search space if Yahoo does not work fast to offer the same service. Voice recognition technology could later be extended to podcasting and audio search.
Tieing in all of Google’s search services with a mobile interface (cellphones) would allow users to tap into the power of search at all times. Combined with Google’s eventual entry into the personal data storing space (personal files, not just email/blogs), this technology could allow users to access all their data at anytime and anywhere with a simple voice command.