Search is a fundamental mobile activity. Think about it—mobile is much less about creating stuff (unless you are talking about taking pictures or writing an occasional tweet). Instead, you use mobile devices mostly for finding stuff. Riffing on Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, mobile devices help you find places to eat lunch, people to eat lunch with, and directions to get to the restaurant, which helps everyone to get there sometime before the Universe ends—which makes search patterns important.
Audio query inputted via an on-board microphone is used as input for searching instead of a keyword query. Typing on the phone is awkward and prone to errors. This makes audio input a great alternative to text.
Usually, the searcher taps a microphone icon, causing the device to go into listening mode. The searcher speaks the query into the on-board microphone. The device listens for a pause in the audio stream, which the device interprets as the end of the query. At this point the audio input is captured and transcribed into a keyword query, which is used to run the search. The transcribed keyword query and search results are shown to the searcher.
One of the most straightforward implementations of the Voice Searchpattern is the standard input box for writing text, augmented with a microphone icon, as exemplified in Google’s native Android search. (See Figure 7-1.)