Yahoo OneSearch 2.0 slowly spreads voice search

By updating two mobile applications, more people can now search Yahoo's databases by speaking search terms into their phones.

Updated on 10/10/08 at 11:35 a.m. PST with more details about beginning a voice search on Nokia devices.

Yahoo oneSearch 2.0 with voice
You can now speak your search into Yahoo's search widget for Nokia start screens. (Credit: Yahoo Inc.)

Voice-responsive search has been available from Yahoo's OneSearch 2.0 application for select BlackBerry phones since this last April, but until this week only a few of you could to try it out.

On Thursday, Yahoo slipped voice recognition into the OneSearch 2.0 home-screen shortcut--available for a smattering of Nokia Series 60 phones--and in the Yahoo! Go 3.0 files for select BlackBerry, Nokia Series 40, and Nokia Series 60 models, such as the BlackBerry Curve and high-end Nokia and Sony Ericsson phones. Those using older versions of either of these apps will have to download them anew to get the chatty update.

Operating the voice search is simple--on BlackBerry, just hold down on the green 'talk' button and speak your search term. OneSearch will start scouring Yahoo's database for answers as soon as you let go. Nokia owners can hit the pencil key to get going. Those without pencil keys will launch tier search by pressing the right shortcut key (labeled Y! OneSearch) and speaking or typing into the search box that appears.

Although voice-recognition technology is constantly improving as a whole, many voice searches I've tried using various applications have fallen flat. It helps to launch uncomplicated searches in quieter areas. I've experienced my share of success, but have also had to punch in search terms or edit them in the search field when the speech recognition software bungled a command or when the search engines didn't return the results I had in mind. Still, it's good to have options, and as the technology improves, voice searches will save plenty of typing time and hassle.

You can download the OneSearch 2.0 with a voice start-screen widget for select Nokia Series 60 phones by navigating to from a PC or phone. The new version of Yahoo Go 3.0 (technically, which includes the voice-supporting Yahoo OneSearch widget, can be found for some Nokia and BlackBerry models at from a PC or the phone's native browser.

About Jessica Dolcourt

Jessica Dolcourt reviews smartphones and cell phones, covers handset news, and pens the monthly column Smartphones Unlocked. A senior editor, she started at CNET in 2006 and spent four years reviewing mobile and desktop software before taking on devices.