updated 04:30 pm EDT, Thu July 3, 2008
Google Maps by voice
Google on Wednesday revealed that users of selected BlackBerry Pearl phones can find businesses via Google Maps by speaking into them. The new feature is made possible thanks to the same speech recognition software Google uses in its phone-accessible GOOG-411 directory assistance service. The BlackBerry voice search is still in experimental stages, but Google promises it will fine-tune its software's speech recognition capabilities over time.
Also due to the early stage of development, only Blackberry 8110, 8120 and 8130 users in the US can download the application free of charge via their phone's web browser. Google hopes the feature will expand the usability of its Maps, as it will allow access when texting is not feasible, such as when driving, or when the exact spelling of a business is not known. The feature will retain the ability for users to search by typing, and both input options are able to find businesses by category or their specific name.