When Google gets into something, it does it in a big way. I've blogged about the well done 800 GOOG 411 speech-driven search service before. It made me wonder what else Google was developing with speech.
Then I saw this article about speech recognition and GPS for handheld devices. The article rightly points out that manual input is difficult to design and implement on small handheld devices, and speech (once you get the recognition working correctly) is a natural candidate for input. Hey, there's no training involved - we already know how to talk into small devices, right?
The article states "Google research director, Peter Norvig, has indicated that Google is currently spending more on speech and translation than any other area." The article goes on to suggest that Google will produce a competitor to the iPhone that incorporates both speech and GPS. This makes sense. Google took a big step away from desktop-based search with GOOG 411. Enabling location-based search on an easy to use handset is a next, very large, logical step. I'm guessing that Google will partner with a company that produces handsets to implement their ideas. It will be interesting to see what they develop.