Category Archives: Search

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.

Friday Tip: Quick definitions

The second fastest way to look up a word in a dictionary using Utter Command is to select the word, then say “This Dictionary Search”. This command looks up the selection in and returns the results in a browser page.

The fastest way is to combine selecting the word and searching. For instance, “Word Dictionary Search”.

You can use these commands whether or not a browser is open.

Happy searching.

Speeding search by speech

Keyboard shortcuts are powerful tools for the speech interface because they work across all programs and they can be combined — you can say several keyboard shortcuts in one phrase to speed things up.

This is why we encourage all software makers to make all features available via keyboard shortcuts.

Google is experimenting with adding keyboard shortcuts to search results. Here are the experimental keyboard shortcuts:

Command Action
Letter J Selects next result
Letter K Selects previous result
Enter (or Letter O) Opens selected result
Slash Moves cursor to search box
Escape Moves cursor to results

And here’s how to speed things up further with Utter Command combinations:

Command Action
Letter J · Enter Opens next result
Letter K · Enter Opens previous result
J Times 1-100 Moves down 1-100 and selects result
K Times 1-100 Moves up 1-100 and selects result
J Times 1-100 · Enter Moves down 1-100 and opens result
K Times 1-100 · Enter Moves up 1-100 and opens result
Escape · Enter Moves cursor to results and opens

To try these out

1. Go to the Google experimental page
2. Under the Keyboard Shortcuts heading click “Join Experiment”
3. Go to regular Google search or Advanced Google search, type a query, then try the shortcuts on the results.

As long as you’re logged in you’ll be able to use these shortcuts in the regular and advanced Google search pages.

Note: the Join Experiment button uses cookies. If your browser is set to remove all cookies at the end of a session and you want to retain this setting add to your exceptions list (Firefox: Tools/Options/Privacy/Exceptions; Internet Explorer: Tools/Options/Privacy/Sites).