Google released a new version of the free Google Mobile App for Symbian Series 60 (S60) phones on Monday. The update gives phone owners the ability to press the Talk button and speak search terms into the phone. While a new feature to the S60 operating system, users on other platforms, like BlackBerry and iPhone, have been able to turn speech into search results for some time.
The new Google Mobile App shows up as a shortcut widget on the Nokia home screen, which makes sounding out searches on those Nokia N and E series handsets faster than on other mobile platforms, where you must open the Google Mobile App to begin a search.
Whether you talk or type, Google Mobile App uses GPS or cell tower triangulation to fill in your location and find the closest whatever-it-is nearby. This is consistent with Google Mobile App for other platforms, though Windows Mobile is the only other one that also uses the home screen plug-in.
In addition to adding digital ears to search, Google has made them more global. Mandarin Chinese has joined Google's speech recognition database, so Nokia seekers can speak queries in English or in Mandarin. Google warns that the Mobile App is better at distinguishing certain accents better than others; a Beijing lilt may search more successfully than southern-flavored speech, for instance.
Mandarin recognition is currently only available for Nokia phones, but Google says in an official blog post that they're working to expand the capability to other mobile platforms, like Google Android and iPhone. Also, not every S60 owner can take advantage of the new Google Mobile App, only those running version 3. The app is not yet supported on touch screen phones, which run version 5 of the system software.