Friday, December 5, 2008

Vlingo is the real deal!

Vlingo is the "swiss army knife" of iPhone applications. It enables nearly hands-free operation. Lauch the Vlingo application, Press and hold down the large thumb button and speak into the iPhone microphone, either on the phone itself or thru the iPhone ear buds. Vlingo will dial a phone number, search Maps, search Google/Yahoo and update your Facebook status and/or send messages to your Twitter account.
  1. Outbound call, "call Mike Smith at home" ... the app searches your contacts for Mike Smith and his home phone number. The voice recognition is very good even with a moderate level of background noise, I have obtained ~95% hit rate - most failures due to too much background noise. Using the voice dial feature of Vlingo is well suited for the driver, it passes the driving test. One caveat though, Vlingo currently does not support Blue tooth headsets.
  2. FIND... Vlingo interfaces with the Map application on the iPhone. Simply state "Find McDonalds" then click on the the "Map It" button. The Map application launches showing all the McDonalds that are near your current location (assuming you have your location service turned on). Or you can speak: "Find Funeral Homes in Columbus Ohio". Again, the strength of the Vlingo application is its voice recognition accuracy.
  3. Web Search... Use the terms "search", "Google", or "Yahoo" plus the wording of what you are looking for and the search results are returned in a Vlingo window. You are taken to Safari when you click on a search result. This is one of the areas for improvement for Vlingo. As it is, if you plan to look at multiple search results you will have to exit Safari, relaunch Vlingo and search again in order to pick up where you left off.
  4. Twitter/Facebook... Use the terms "status update", "Facebook", or "Twitter" to activate the social features of Vlingo. For instance "Twitter I plan to run the NYC marathon this afternoon" and your twitter will be updated accordingly. Of course you must first set up Vlingo with your Twitter and/or Facebook accounts, this process is straight forward.

After one day of useage, I have moved Google Mobile off of my homescreen and replaced it with Vlingo. The accuracy of the voice recognition is better than the Google application and the ability to voice dial makes Vlingo worthy of home screen status. One addition I would like to see is a wikipedia search.

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