Trying out Dragon Search for the iPhone

Dragon Search is a nice app. Here’s how it works: open the app, hit one button, speak the phrase you want to search for. By default the app stops listening and starts the search when you pause so you don’t have to hit another button when you’re done.

The app comes up quickly, which from a practical standpoint is extremely important. And in my experience so far the search has been fast. There’s also a button you can push to cancel out of the search. The big plus of this application is the different search channels: Google, iTunes, Twitter, Wikipedia, and YouTube. You can search for something, like green apples, and the results will come up in the channel you used last. Once you’ve done a search you can switch channels easily to see results across channels.

I have a couple of practical suggestions.

1. The history list is just three items long — I’d like a much longer scrolling history list. Google Voice Search has a long scrolling list that includes dates. I would’ve liked to have seen Nuance improve on that.

2. I’d also like to be able to add my own channel.

I’ll also take the opportunity to repeat what I said a couple of days ago. I appreciate the progress on speech apps — don’t get me wrong. But speech on the iPhone is still not what I really want, which is system-level speech control of a mobile device that would give me the option to use speech for anything. These new apps are steps in the right direction — making the iPhone more hands-free. But there’s still a long way to go.

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