A new partnership with Foursquare will give Vlingo (voice search app) the ability to check in to local places by voice. In addition to standard Vlingo features like texting, e-mailing and Web search, users can now prompt check-ins by simply saying “check in at Fred’s.”
There are a number of other function such as saying “who’s nearby?” to see what friends have checked in nearby. It will also let users tweet and update Facebook status, though there would seem to be lots of room for voice processing errors in such scenarios (vs. a binary check-in).
This will first be available on Vlingo apps on Android 2.0+ devices — fitting for Google’s voice search over the past couple of years. Google’s own speech-to-text algorithms continue to improve based on its scale, and it recently launched a broad set of voice command features for Android devices.
Voice in general is also a boon for mobile Web use as it creates a more intuitive search input than tapping in URLs and search terms. In that sense it’s something that Google is fully backing for its ability to score points for mobile browsers amid the “apps vs mobile Web” wars against Apple.
Apps can be more conducive to discovery than search, not to mention that refined content selections (based on the app’s specific theme) don’t require a broad search engine as much as the browser experience does. This is at the heart of Google’s push for having the browser be the “front door” to mobile content.
Voice search — along with visual search, barcode scanners and augmented reality — will be a big area of innovation in mobile over the coming months and years (see our recent report on the topic). This will be true for both apps and mobile Web as it’s ease makes it a usage driver in both cases.
Meanwhile, below is a video of Vlingo’s new features.