Google has been awarded a patent by the United States Patent and Trademark Office that will, in the future, allow you to simply ask the search engine for your search request.
The patent, titled "Voice interface for a search engine" outlines how Google wants to improve voice recognition, specifically for providing the search results a user may be looking for.
The patent describes the interface as "a system [that] provides search results from a voice search query. The system receives a voice search query from a user, derives one or more recognition hypotheses, each being associated with a weight, from the voice search query, and constructs a weighted boolean query using the recognition hypotheses. The system then provides the weighted boolean query to a search system and provides the results of the search system to a user".
In other words, that moment in Star Trek when the crew ask Computer for help is only months rather than years away.
Google has been quietly testing the service for sometime now, although with the recent announcement it closed down its demo in the Google Labs area of the site (http://labs1.google.com/gvs.html
In the test, users were asked to phone in and then suggest a query, which would then automatically appear on their computer screens; you say a query, it sends you the results, you say another query, and so on and when done you simply hung up.
It is thought that Google is looking to the voice search era for mobile phone users rather than just talking to your computer randomly in the office.
We will keep you posted.