Google has added a microphone to the Google.com search field on Android phones to enable mobile voice search. With this addition, it begs the questions as to why add this at all since users had the ability to do voice search on the mobile web, with the Android keyboard microphone.
Below are screenshots from Search Engine Land that shows the Android on the left and the iPhone on the right. Both of them show the same Google.com search results. The iPhone capture doesn’t show the mic, even though that keyboard could also do voice input, just like the Android keyboard. The search phrase is “what percentage of mobile queries are voice searches?”
The only real difference, besides the inclusion of the mic icon inside the search box, is users will hear a spoken response now when doing an Android mobile web searches instead of a “silent” result. One benefit of this change is that users may not always be able to look at the results when displayed, such as when they’re driving or cooking.
Since the Android’s home screen search bar already gives access to the Google Assistant, this isn’t anything new in regards to capability.
If this isn’t new, then why include this mice in the Google.com search bar at all? Google could be making voice search and the Assistant ubiquitous, which would make things more consistent.