05/15/2013 04:46 pm ET Updated May 15, 2013

New Google Search Allows You To Speak To Google ... And It Speaks Back


Google introduced a new search feature at the company's annual I/O developers conference on Wednesday, and it's about to put Siri to shame.

Google Now, the mobile application for searching by voice command, is coming to desktop and is getting a big makeover. With the new update, you'll be able to speak directly to your smartphone or computer using a huge variety of commands, and Google will understand and respond.

The new search function will not only understand your basic commands -- "Show me pictures of Times Square," for example -- it will also respond to more complex queries and can speak the answer back to you. In Wednesday's demonstration, it was asked to show photos of the Santa Cruz boardwalk, and then asked, "How far is it from here?" Google understood that "here" meant the user's current location, and that "it" meant the Santa Cruz boardwalk the user had just asked about.

The new Google search can also help you get more obscure information. In the demo, it was asked, "How tall do you have to be to ride the Giant Dipper?" -- a roller coaster on the previously mentioned boardwalk. Amazingly, Google spoke the correct answer back. Let's see Siri try that!

Since it's a Google product, of course the new search feature also has access to lots of users' personal information. Scary? Perhaps. But useful? Definitely. You can just ask Google when your next flight is or have it show you old photos you've taken (instead of searching your Gmail account for them yourself).

If you're participating in the Gmail search field trial, this feature is already currently available. Everyone else will have to wait a while: The new search will be available on iOS, Android and Chrome "soon," according to the company.



Google I/O 2013