Google adds more contextual voice searches to iPhones, iPads

It's not quite Google Now On Tap like Android will get, but the latest version of Google Search for iOS adds contextual smarts through voice commands when browsing the web.

Android devices later this year will gain Google Now On Tap, a contextual and actionable voice interface. Google isn't leaving iOS behind though: The latest version of its Google search app for iPads and iPhones bring a bit more context to iOS.

With the newest Google app for iOS, you can now ask questions about what you're reading on a web page and Google will provide answers.

Since the software is tapping into Google's contextual smarts, you can speak your questions using pronouns and the app will understand who or what it is you want to know about.

For example, after updating the software on my iPad, I used it to read a recent news article on Adrian Peterson, the running back for the NFL's Minnesota Vikings. Google actually surfaced the article through Google Now because I've read other stories about Peterson.

When reading the latest article, I said "OK Google, how old is he?" without tapping the screen.

Since the app knows I'm reading about Peterson, it immediately provided search results for the query: How old is Adrian Peterson? He's 30, by the way.


I then did a web search in the Google app for Scottsdale, AZ and after the results were returned, I asked "OK Google, how far away is it?" The app understood what I was asking and provided the result of 2,319.4 miles.

That's too far for a weekend trip to one of my favorite regions, but it shows that Google isn't content to limit its contextual smarts just to Android.

While the company will almost always deliver the best experience on its own platform, it's doing everything it can within the confines of iOS to boost the usage of Google apps and services.