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Google finally adds voice search to Android phones

February 5, 2009 | 12:23 pm

Owners of the T-Mobile G1 cellphone who have been waiting for voice search can finally let out a collective sigh of, "It's about time."

AndroidvoicesearchGoogle is gradually rolling out the feature in a system update to its Android mobile operating system -- the one powering the G1. Voice search has been available for a rival handset, Apple's iPhone, since November as part of the Google Mobile App.

As if the three-month wait for Google to deliver the much-touted feature to its own in-house-developed mobile operating system weren't enough, the Android voice search lacks a key feature of the iPhone app.

On Apple's smartphone, a user can simply bring the device up to his ear and begin speaking a search query. But because the G1 lacks a light sensor and fails to make use of the phone's accelerometer, Android users must press a button to activate a search, reports CNet Webware.

Gummi Hafsteinsson, Google's senior product manager for the mobile team, told The Times in November that the company treats all smartphone platforms equally -- meaning it won't give preference to Android over the iPhone.

But a three-month gap to drop a feature-lacking update to Google's own OS? Shouldn't Android supporters be at least a little upset?

-- Mark Milian

Photo: Google Android voice search. Credit: Google