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A new browser tool lets Android owners use their voice to search the Web
The iPhone4S most popular addition was the voice controlled personal assistant Siri and since that announcement several months back, few applications or phone features have been able to compete with the ease and recognition that Siri had. Dolphin told me that its browser app is the number one Android third-party browser applications and now they are ready to launch a voice-controlled feature that goes head-to-head with those that want answers right now.
Dolphin Browser launched Dolphin Sonar on Wednesday for Android phones.
Dolphin Sonar is part of the Dolphin for Android v7.4 free update and allows users to use their voice as a tool to search the web and navigate the browser. Dolphin uses Google’s voice recognition API to convert voice input into text, which their own backend then interprets to bring you the best results.
Users activate Dolphin Sonar by tapping the microphone icon at the bottom of the screen or shaking the phone and then give a voice command such as "eBay Nike running shoes" and then result will return with a list of shoes on sale on eBay.
There are also specific voice commands to scroll to the bottom of pages or open new browsing tabs so that users don't have to fumble around on their screens.
Previously, Dolphin was specializing in specific gesture-based functions for the browser world and now the company direction has moved right into the voice-recognition and cue arena.
The Sequoia-backed app developer has raised more than $10 million to help build better third-party browsing options on bth Android and iOS platforms.
“Our gesture-based browsing function was a game-changer in terms of the way people browse on their mobile devices, and Sonar is the logical next step,” said Yongzhi Yang, CEO of MoboTap, said in a statement. “Just as sonar is used by dolphins to navigate, Dolphin Sonar interprets sound to get you where you want to be online. We are continuously thinking of new ways to heighten our users’ mobile browsing experience with new and innovative features.”
Dolphin Browser, which entered the Android Market in 2010 and launched in iOS a few months ago, has reached more than 12 million downloads.
Much like the voice-assistant Siri, Dolphin Sonar helps people streamline the web and get the most likely and common search results they were looking for, often helping when people are in a rush and need restaurant data or a quick definition.
Unlike Siri, however, this is still a third-party app so it don't communicate with native apps or the deeper phone functionality like Siri does -- but it does look like some great added functionality that bridges the gap between Apple features and the Android market.
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Siri is a Virtual Personal Assistant - a new way to interact with the Internet on your mobile phone. Like a real assistant, Siri helps you get things done. You interact with Siri by just saying, in your own words, what you want to do. You can ask Siri to find a romantic place for dinner, and get reservations for Saturday night. You can discover things to do over the weekend, get tickets to the movies, or call a cab when you’re out on the town. You don't have to search through a bunch of web pages, following links and hunting down facts. Siri does all the work giving you the information you need at your fingertips.
We believe that in five years most people who use the Internet will have a Virtual Personal Assistant (VPA) to take care of the details of using online services. We will look back at the birth of VPAs in 2009 and wonder how we ever got by without our trusted assistant. The days of wading through links and pages from your mobile interface will seem quaint, because the natural way to interact with the rich world of information and services is to have a conversation. As John Batelle, the author of The Search, says "The future of search is a conversation with someone we trust."