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Android voice search inspires new Google search tools

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Mobile has been a new frontier for search tools, incurring cutting-edge ways to find the information you need. For Android phones in particular, voice search was an early addition, and mobile devices also seemed like perfect controls for on-the-go image search. So it’s nice to see these mobile search advancements encouraging improvements on the desktop, as Google (GOOG) adds voice and image search to its websites. The new desktop capabilities add more natural search tactics for Google’s massive search service, which has evolved with the times and technology since Google first came into existence. Mobile devices continue to encourage new ways of searching for things, from retail to mobile apps. A recent study shows the importance of search for mobile shoppers, reporting that a third of consumers have used their mobile phones from inside a physical store to access promos and coupons, or researching prices, ratings and reviews. The same report indicates increasing comfort levels with mobile scanning functions, with a third of survey respondents using QR or bar codes to get product information. And as Microsoft (MSFT) works with Nokia (NOK) towards its own mobile platform, its Bing search service is working its way deeper into the mobile realm, recently incorporating apps into the Bing app’s default search results. Consumers’ mobile inspiration Near Field Communications (NFC) has also been an inspiring aspect of mobile’s technological advancements, but it’s still in its infancy. Large brands like Starbucks (SBUX) are finding ways around this, launching payment apps of their own. The coffee retailer has extended its mobile payment system to Android phones, after the success of the app on the iPhone and BlackBerry. The new Android app lets you pay for transactions with your phone at various Starbucks locations, including Safeway (SWY), Target (TGT) and stand-alone locations. Mobile carriers are also seeking more ways to spur consumer activity, as T-Mobile’s new Android app delivers daily deals based on your location. The new app, called More for Me, aggregates daily deals from companies like LivingSocial, featuring discounts on restaurants, spas, retailers, concerts and more. The app has a social scheme, prompting users to share deals directly with Facebook friends and beyond. T-Mobile’s rather hopeful about this app, making it available to all Android users, not just T-Mobile customers, with plans to expand to BlackBerry and Windows phones.

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