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Yahoo Gives iPhone Voice Search

The mobile app enables iPhone users to speak their Yahoo queries, as well as stay connected with e-mail, social networks, and news feeds.
Yahoo has updated its iPhone application and given it voice search capabilities to keep up with Google's iPhone app.

Yahoo's voice-controlled oneSearch is already available on other mobile platforms like BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, and Symbian, but this is the first from Yahoo on Apple's platform. The Yahoo Mobile app brings e-mail, social networks, news, sports, instant messaging, and other Web-based features to the iPhone in one place.

Anywhere there is a search bar in the app, users can click on the oneSearch button to activate voice controls. Users speak their voice query, it's sent to Yahoo's server, and then an answer is provided with links. Users can also use their voice to add topics of interest. The voice-control technology is powered by Vlingo.

Yahoo is playing catch-up with rival Google, which released a voice-powered search app for the iPhone last year. Google's app also has an advantage over Yahoo's because it enables the user to activate the voice search by bringing the phone to the ear. This was made possible because Google utilized application programming interfaces that are generally not allowed by Apple.

Yahoo's program can be downloaded from the App Store for the iPhone and iPod Touch for free.

As Yahoo reorganizes under CEO Carol Bartz, it's unclear how big a role the mobile division will play in the company. Mobile search will continue to play a large role, and the company recently signed a pact to provide search for most of AT&T's phones except for the iPhone, which has Google as the default search. The company may also try to woo developers with its Blueprint platform, which enables content creators to write apps once and have them run on multiple platforms.

With mobile devices taking on increasingly important tasks for enterprises, some companies may be facing trouble without a mobile device management plan. InformationWeek analyzed this issue in an independent report, and it can be downloaded here (registration required).