Back in August, Google announced that it would be bringing a substantial update to its iOS Search app, bringing natural voice dictation and various other features to Apple’s operating system. At that time, Google claimed that it would only take a few days for the update to hit devices.

Naturally, those few days turned into a few months, likely due to Apple’s approval process - and only today has the update been pushed out to the App Store and to devices with the app installed.

I’ve played with the new update for a while, and I have a few things to say about it. Join me as I discuss them!

First and foremost, you should realize that this is very similar to Google Now on Android 4.1 and above. The voice recognition works in the same ways, and it shows you your results in a very similar manner, as well.

In fact, even the voice that Google picked to speak your results back to you (if you have that feature enabled) is the same one that is used in Google Now.

To be perfectly clear, this is Google Now – without the Cards. And without the cards, the app can’t tell you how much longer you have on your commute to and from work.

It also can’t tell you when your favorite football team wins or anything like that, but the design is so strikingly similar – and so amazingly beautiful - that most people won’t even know the difference.

Coming back to the iPhone from a Galaxy Nexus, one of the things I really missed was Google Now. It was Siri – tied into services that actually worked to my benefit. And although I won’t have a Cards replacement on my iPhone for at least another year, I am very happy with the new update to Google’s Search app. It’s beautiful, smooth, and it works incredibly well for anything I ask it.

Since the app is free, I highly suggest you download it right away and see for yourself just how great Google’s voice search technology works across every platform – and every iDevice, since this update also includes support for the iPhone 5′s new 4-inch screen.

I guess the only other thing I want out of this update is that Apple sees it as a threat and works vigorously to fix Siri.

Download: iTunes

[Cult of Mac]