Brief interview with Peter Norvig, Google's director of research; excerpt:
TR: Which research has the most people and funding?
PN: The two biggest projects are machine translation and the speech project. Translation and speech went all the way from one or two people working on them to, now, live systems.
TR: Like the Google Labs project called GOOG-411 [a free service that lets people search for local businesses by voice, over the phone].