Google boosts voice and image-based searches


Google has launched two new search features, using voice and images, instead of text-based keywords, to find information on the web. Speaking at the Internet search giant's Inside Search Event in San Francisco, Mike Cohen, head of Google's speech technology efforts, said its voice search is now available in 27 languages and dialects, an estimated coverage of around 5 billion people or two-thirds of world population.



Voice search has already been available in Google's mobile search application from 2008. Adding the feature to desktops is part of Google's strategy to bring mobile innovations to its desktop search.

The voice search on desktop performs similarly to voice search on smartphones -- users can click the microphone button and speak the query. It is only available via Google's Chrome browser for now.

Cohen noted that the volume of Google mobile speech inputs has increased by six times in the last year.

Also at the event, Google introduced search-by-image, which enables users to drag-and-drop, copy-and-paste image URL, or upload the image from the desktop into the search box. They can also use a Chrome or FireFox software extension to add images to the search.

Google said the search-by-image feature will be available in most countries and regions over the next few days to Chrome users, noting that it will not collect and store any images that users use.

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