Apple 2.0

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iPhone: Has Google lost its voice? (UPDATE)

November 15, 2008: 9:39 AM ET

Techmeme Google voiceFor tech bloggers, this was bigger than Obama.

How else to explain the reaction Friday to John Markoff's story in the New York Times about Google (GOOG) bringing voice activation to the iPhone, letting you search for everything from pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge to the length of a giant squid just by talking into your phone?

Markoff's story was the No. 1 item all day on the Techmeme news aggregator, and by the time it was over more than three dozen tech writers had weighed in, from AppleInsider's Katie Marsal to Eric Zeman's Phone Scoop. Seth Weintraub posted a video. Several reporters spoke of it in the past tense, as if they had already had the program in hand.

So where is Google Voice Search?

According to Markoff, Apple (AAPL) was expected to make the free application -- an update of Google Mobile App -- available "as soon as Friday" on its App store.

Well, it's Saturday morning, and as of this writing, the update is nowhere to be found. The bloggers are starting to go meta, writing stories like Harry McCracken's "How Long Does Google Baby the iPhone?"

At this point, there's nothing more to say -- and besides, Google Mobile App isn't listening.

Let's go to the video.

UPDATE: Still no Google Voice Search, and now no video either. Sorry about that. When I ask my iPhone when voice search will be available, it just stares at me blankly.

UPDATE 2: Reader "severe" from Long Beach has located a copy of the original Google Voice Search demo. Let's go to the new video.

UPDATE 3: Someone at Google "with knowledge of the situation" talked to Techcrunch's Michael Arrington late Saturday night and told him they expect the new version of Google Mobile App to go live sometime Monday. In this version of events, Google did Apple a huge favor putting voice recognition on the iPhone first (rather than, say, Google's Android platform) and for its pains was treated as shabbily as Apple treats the rest of its developers. See here.

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About This Author
Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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