Via Ken Fisher:
Patent #7,027,987 issued today by the US Patent and Trademark Office covers a "Voice interface for a search engine," which is described as: "A system 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." Translation: the system listens to your spoken query, does its magic, and returns the results.
This is cool – I could use this on my mobile phone. Maybe next will be a search-engine interface that can simply read my mind, or my brain waves.