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Google’s iPhone App Has a Hidden Menu - So What?

by Sachin Balagopalan on January 2, 2009 · 5 comments

Ok, so the guys at Google wanted to have some fun with their iPhone Mobile App with Voice Search. I get the whole easter egg thing and the flicking or swiping of your finger five times to un-hide the “Bells and Whistles” menu below the ‘About” menu. However the whole thing is pointless and a waste of time. I guess if you’re into “blinging” your apps then it’s probably worth looking at. So what does the “Bells and Whistles” menu really give you? …

Google Mobile Blog: Does blue not go with your new belt? Use the Theme Color to style the app to work with any outfit or match the holiday season.

Tired of the standard beeps and boops during speech recognition? You can try out some alternate sounds made by our teammates in their sugar-induced stupor.

There are a couple of other options hidden in there, too. We had (a little too much) fun implementing these features and hope you enjoy them!

By the way in case you’re wondering what the alternate sounds created during their “sugar-induce stupor” are… Chicken and Monkey sounds! Yep that’s what I need when I’m googling on my iPhone, an orangutan screeching while my search results are being rendered! Actually if they can come up with an algorithm to automatically figure out the appropriate sound for my search query that would be really cool!

In all seriousness however Google did take what amounted to pretty much a useless app and turned it around to not only a cool, Shazam like app but a pretty useful one to boot. The voice recognition search, while not flawless works great. There are certain words that need to be repeated multiple times but it’s a small inconvenience to put up with compared to the benefits. A phrase like “Sichuan Gourmet in Billerica Massachusetts” works nicely and accurately. I use it all the time now whenever I want to Google something on my iPhone. Beats typing and not to mention the fat finger syndrome which could be a huge problem on the iPhone.

When the app was originally rolled out back in July 08 it was really a pointless app - why not just use Google search inside Safari instead of having an extra layer that redirects you to the browser with your search results. But in Nov 08 with very little fanfare they released an update to the original app adding Voice Search to it and turned around it’s usefulness literally overnight. It’s one of the coolest iPhone apps right now and it has put a new dimension around mobile search - it simplifies it. It also reiterates how far speech recognition technology has come.

I’m looking for Google to do more with this app like utilizing the iPhone’s location services in conjunction with search - so a search like “where is the nearest subway station” should render a list of subway stations within the users current vicinity.

No easter eggs please - unless it’s something useful!


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Google iPhone App Has a Hidden Menu So What | Green Tea Fat Burner
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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Chad 01.03.09 at 12:03 pm

Since when are easter eggs supposed to be useful?

Sachin Balagopalan 01.03.09 at 1:34 pm

@Chad You’re right! - They’re never useful are they?

Travis 01.03.09 at 4:54 pm

I completely agree. If you’re going hide any part of your application just for fun then it should be the most useful part of the app. No, wait…

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