Last year's LG Magic Remote allowed you to navigate its Smart TVs like a Wii, and this year's iteration improves on the design with a scrollable click wheel and some new voice recognition functionality. The microphone in the remote sends your voice to your Smart TV, at which point it's processed online before the results are pulled back down — similar to services like Nuance's. We wouldn't be surprised to hear that Nuance was taking care of the language processing, although LG staff on the CES floor insisted it was their company on the back end.
The voice recognition worked pretty well — it functions like it does on the Android platform, where the microphone icon pops up whenever the keyboard is onscreen. It can be used not just for web searches, but also content searches (both local and online), as well to tweet and make Facebook posts. People like to debate the usefulness of voice recognition, but in this case it definitely makes things easier than typing character-by-character while you wave your arm around in the air.