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You can replace Siri with Google's Voice Search, but there's a catch

If you're willing to jailbreak your iPhone, you can create a Home-button shortcut to Google's whiz-bang new Siri-killer. Is it worth the effort?

Rick Broida Senior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
Rick Broida
2 min read
The Google app's newly enhanced voice-powered search can work wonders, and it's even better on a jailbroken iPhone.
The Google app's newly enhanced voice-powered search can work wonders, and it's even better on a jailbroken iPhone. Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

I'll catch some flak for this, but I still like Siri.

In fact, I find it extremely useful for things like setting reminders and sending text messages hands-free. It's not perfect, but neither is it as useless as many people seem to think.

That said, Google's newly updated Voice Search is all kinds of awesome. It's blazing-fast, amazingly accurate, and in many ways just plain smarter than Siri. Use it a few times and you'll immediately start wishing you could ditch Siri for it -- or, at the very least, make it as push-button accessible.

You can -- if you're willing to jailbreak your iPhone. Cydia tweak NowNow lets you invoke Google's Voice Search via any number of shortcuts, including a triple-press of the Home button or double-tap of the lock-screen clock. It also gives owners of older iPhones -- those that don't have Siri at all -- a slick voice-search capability.

Here's a video that shows NowNow in action:

Because my iPhone isn't jailbroken, I haven't been able to field-test this myself. What I want to know, and can't tell from the description, is whether you can continue to use Siri alongside NowNow, which is important to me because Google's app can't send text messages, create reminders, or do anything else tied to the OS. (That's where Siri excels, IMHO.)

Even so, I'm really eager to try this -- so much so that I'm seriously considering jailbreaking my iPhone. What do you think? Is the promise of quicker access to Google Voice Search worth the effort of jailbreaking? (If it's not, consider these 100 other reasons to jailbreak your iPhone. Of course, you can always unjailbreak your iPhone if something goes wrong.)

Maybe I'll ask Siri what it thinks.