In an effort to keep up with the competition, Microsoft developed a voice search program called Torque that works much like Android’s “OK Google.” Torque was released in October, but it was only compatible with select smartwatches at the time. The 2.0 version released last Friday will now work on all Android phones.
Torque works off voice commands, much like “OK Google.” Instead of searching Google’s browser though, it uses the power of Microsoft’s Bing. Users simply have to shake the phone in order to “wake up” the program, rather than saying a keyword command like “OK Google.”
Torque comes equipped with a number of instant answers, such as stock prices, local flights, sports scores, nearby restaurants and weather. It can also search for answers on Bing that are not as “instant,” like flight status and information about local events.
“One of the big things that we heard from people who don’t have an Android Wear watch is that they would love to be able to search Bing just by shaking their phone,” Microsoft said on its blog. “Now, you can do just that. After you’ve installed Torque on your phone, just shake and say what you want to search for.
So far, users are reporting a few bumps in the road with the new app. It’s overall satisfaction score is 3.6, with close to 500 reviews. The last version of the app was only downloaded 10,000 times, but this should gain a stronger following because it is available for smartphones, not just wearables.
Torque is a good indication that Microsoft is trying to branch out into the market, but it may not be enough to persuade loyal Google users to download and use the app. If you would like to see Torque in action, check it out on Google Play.