Price: free Download on the App Store
vlingo, the company, has just released vlingo, the iPhone app, which is similar in concept to the fast-rising Google Mobile app. Like Google's app, vlingo makes it possible for iPhone owners to vocally enter search terms into Google. They're both location aware so if you're looking for, say, Chinese food, your search results will be for restaurants in proximity to you. They're both free.
That's about where the similarity ends.
What's really different about vlingo is that it does so much more than Google's app. vlingo let's iPhone users vocally search Google and Yahoo (you can set one as a default) pull up contacts, dial them, access Google maps and send status updates for Facebook and Twitter. Whew!
I tried the voice-recognition abilities of these apps side by side. They both worked equally well, although neither one worked flawlessly.
Launch vlingo and on the first screen you'll see a large Press+Speak button. Hold the button and say, "Find Chinese restaurant" and release the button. A few seconds later, Google Maps will open and drop pins on nearby restaurants. Tapping on a restaurant opens a screen that will display a phone number, address, URL and buttons to add the restaurant to your contact list or bookmarks, share location and get directions.
The problem here is that there's no way to go back to the previous screen in vlingo without quitting Google Maps and relaunching the app.
Along the bottom is the usual menu of icons — in this case representing Home, Maps, Search, Phone and Social Networking. Tap the Phone icon, speak the name of a person in your Contacts list and a name will come up (usually it's the right one). You can choose to set the number to dial automatically or with a button tap.
vlingo is a terrific all-around voice-recognition voice. It's particularly useful if you want to vocally make calls and update your status on Facebook and Twitter.
If you rely on Google Calendar, Reader and other Google apps, you're bound to find Google Mobile a better choice. Google's search results also are optimized for the iPhone's screen.