Yahoo Launches Voice-Activated iPhone Search


Users can speak into their device in order to activate a oneSearch query, pulling in results for everything from restaurant addresses to movie times

Yahoo has integrated a voice-search capability into its Yahoo Mobile for iPhone App, allowing users to search by speech for everything from restaurant listings to movie times.

The voice search feature can be activated by pressing the “Press + Speak” bar on the App’s screen. A red bar will appear with the words, “Listening… Tap when done.” Once tapped, the button then turns blue as the system digests the query, and then produces a result.

Yahoo originally announced at 2009 CTIA Wireless in Las Vegas that it would be debuting a Yahoo Mobile Application for Apple’s iPhone in eight countries. The company has been moving aggressively into the mobile-device space, with Yahoo Mobile for the Web now available on more than 300 handheld devices with HTML-enabled browsers.

In addition to oneSearch, the app also offers one-click access to Yahoo Messenger, Address Book and Calendar, and formats Yahoo’s various Web properties for easier iPhone reading and interaction.

Google has already entered the voice-activated mobile space with the Google Mobile App for BlackBerry, released in March 2009, which allows users to search using their voices in conjunction with Google’s My Location application.

Yahoo has been busy streamlining its organization to better compete with Google, Microsoft and other competitors in the search space. CEO Carol Bartz has been publicly ruthless in cutting properties; in April 2009, GeoCities, the Web page creation service that Yahoo purchased for $3.6 billion (£2.3bn) in 1999, found itself on the chopping block.

However, Bartz also announced in a 21 April earnings call that mobile, along with the Yahoo homepage, sports, news, finance, entertainment, mail and search, was one of “those products that generate the majority of our traffic and corresponding economic value.”

Yahoo came in second in the U.S. core search market in April 2009, with 20.4 percent share, versus rival Google’s 64.5 percent.