There can be little doubt that, just like Microsoft thinks touch is the future of computing, Google seems to believe voice will be the user interface of the future. Indeed, when I was in Mountain View earlier this month, a Google spokesperson challenged me to just use voice whenever possible on my phone.
For Google, all things voice now start with “Ok Google” or “Ok Glass.” With Android KitKat on flagship phones like the Moto X and Nexus 5, voice recognition isn’t just something you have to start with a click. It’s always listening to you and is waiting for you to talk to it.
I also went to see a screening of Google And The World Brain over the weekend, a 2013 documentary about Google’s controversial book-scanning project. The only person Google made available for the film was Amit Singhal, a Google VP and the head of its core ranking team. In the movie, Singhal doesn’t actually mention Google Books, but instead he talks about how the Star Trek computer was a major influence on his research. That, plus Google’s challenge to use voice commands whenever possible, made me think a bit more seriously about all of the work Google (and arguably Apple and others) have recently been doing around voice recognition and natural language processing.