If they can get it right then searching by voice would be quite a step for the search engine. According to a newly published patent which points to further evidence that Google is developing a voice-activated search engine. Patent number 7027987, of which Google is the assignee, concerns "a voice interface for search engines". The patent is dated and filed back in 2001, so they have been working on such techniques for some time. Will it come to reality though?
There is forum discussion on WMW and SEW. Some of the members at WMW, comment that while this patent is revealing it really doesn't mean much for the present. It implies that Google sees the technology as possible in the next 20 years. The rest of the members are actually pretty critical of the patent and Google vague description of the patent.
One member on WMW john_k, says
"If their patent is on better voice recognition, then they should say so. If the patent is on a better search algorithm, then say so. If it is on localizing the search based upon the physical location of the caller, then say so. If the patent is on the transport process, then say so. But the patent is not for any of these things. The process (It is a process that is being patented) covered by this patent application is widely employed and has in fact been in use for quite a while. "
If it does come into full use, the only obstacle I see, is the relaying of information back to the searcher. Can you imagine have some phone-bot tell you the top ten listings of a search result. What if they get it all wrong? You try to search for "local" pizza in your zip code, and all you get is commerical pizza jots and some directory listing which are of no-use over the phone (i.e. citysearch, switchboard, superpages) and a spam result. Yeah...I am don't see a huge future for this, but I guess we will have to see.