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Google receives 'voice search' patent

More search-by-voice than American Idol

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Google is back in the news again after it emerged that the firm recently filed a patent for technology which could lead to voice-assisted search.

Patent no 7027987, which was published on the US Patent and Trademark Office website on Tuesday, is for a "voice interface for a search engine".

The patent describes the interface as "a system (that) provides search results from a voice search query. The system receives a voice search query from a user, derives one or more recognition hypotheses, each being associated with a weight, from the voice search query, and constructs a weighted boolean query using the recognition hypotheses. The system then provides the weighted boolean query to a search system and provides the results of the search system to a user."

In plain English this simply means that rather than receiving text-based queries from users, Google's search engine would receive voice-activated search queries instead.

Many analysts believe that the recently filed patent could be the firm's first step towards introducing technology which would allow users to search the internet via voice. However, there's no evidence to suggest that the search engine giant is about to unveil such a service anytime soon.

Although Google is the undisputed top-dog when it comes to text-based internet searches, it has sought to build on its popularity by branching out into other areas over the past few years. In addition to introducing a number of related services such as Google Maps, it has also experimented with voice-based internet searches in the past. In fact, a demo of a service known as "Google Voice Search" has been up on the firm's Google Labs website for sometime now although it isn't accessible at present.

The patent was filed by Google co-founder Sergey Brin along with three associates. Two of the other named inventors in the patent are Alexander Franz and Brian Milch, who co-authored an academic paper, entitled "Searching the Web by Voice" back in 2002.

© ENN

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