Thursday, February 12, 2009

Googling without a keyboard

You know the drill. A question arises. Even if you have an Iphone in hand, there is a period of laborious typing and clicking that is required to get the information you like. Or so I thought.

I got a new cell phone recently. I usually bottom feed on the cheaper phones, and this time was no exception. Even so, I soon learned that the phone has remarkable voice recognition capability. I can just say the name of a contact and the phone finds it for me and one button push launches a call to that contact. I didn't even have to teach the phone how I pronounce the entries in my contacts list. It does a remarkably good job of understanding me and getting the right contact. If it is wrong, I get to try again and it learns to do better next time.

Then it occured to me that voice recognition can allow devices like mobile phones to hear a search phrase, such as "zygote definition". Bam, up pops a nice list of possible web references.

Oh, but it doesn't stop there. A friend bought software for his Iphone that allows him to hold the phone up to hear music playing in a room. The software figures out what song is playing and gives a link to all the information you might like to have about the song (Hey, that is the Yardbirds and it was 1963!). I imagine it also allows you to download the song for a buck.

But why stop there. How about adding a tiny web cam to a bluetooth earpiece. When you meet someone and blank on their name, you quietly say "who", or maybe use a special little clicking sound. The camera snaps a photo of their face and searches a data base to find not only their name, but notes you have made about them (Amway fanatic, divert, divert). One more little clucking noise and you hear the last twenty entries on their twitter feed. (Oh, hi aunt Tilda, how is that hysterectomy healing up!)

No need to stop with faces. Yep that is a 56 Chevy. No, that's Vesuvius, not Krakatoa.

I see some real possibilities.
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