Google rolls out voice search for Gmail, Calendar and Google+

Summary:People searching for things such as photos and flights stored in their Google accounts will be able to say, rather than type, what they’re looking for.

Google is rolling out the voice-based search that's been available through Google Now to its other services such as Gmail, Calendar and Google+. 

The feature is being enabled through Google Search, allowing people to ask questions about commonly queried topics, such as "is my flight on time?" and "when will my package arrive?". The main categories people can query using voice include reservations, purchases, plans, and photos. As long as the details are stored in one of the Google services, Google will return formatted responses to a voice query.

Voice search will be available on the desktop through Google's Chrome browser and on tablets and smartphones via the Google Search App for iOS and Android, Google said. However, the service is only being activated for English speakers in the US.

The feature relies on Google's work on contextual voice recognition and its Knowledge Graph, the company’s database of people, places and things that helps deliver results for words with different meanings in a different context.

It also builds on Google's experiment last August, which invited Gmail users to use Search to scour their inbox, Google Drive and Calendar for reservations, receipts and events. Things stored in Gmail, such as airline tickets, are presented in a formatted card.

According to Google product manager Roy Livne, the results are only visible to the user. 

"This information is just for you — secure, via encrypted connection, and visible only to you when you're signed in to Google. Likewise, you can also control whether you want the service on or off," he wrote on the company's blog on Wednesday.

Users can disable the feature for a single session by clicking on the globe icon at the top of the search results or alternatively disable it permanently by through search preferences and clicking on "do not use private results".

Topics: Google

About

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, s... Full Bio

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