Friday, August 13, 2010

Introducing Voice Actions for Android.

Yesterday I blogged about Swiftkey issuing an update that added voice support to its soft keyboard application. It's a great addition that lets you simply dictate your emails instead of  typing it. Now it's Google's turn to announce an application that uses a similar voice technology called  Voice Actions.

Voice Actions lets you control your phone using spoken commands. Want to send a note to yourself, say "notes to self" and Voice Actions brings up Gmail with your spoken words in the email body ready for you to send. To send a text message, speak the command "Send text to [contact][message]". You can also use Voice Actions to conduct a search, but that feature was already embedded into Google Search. With Voice Actions, Google is simply extending the service to other applications on Android phones running Android 2.2 (Froyo).

How to use Voice Actions? More after the break.

There are two ways to activate Voice Actions:

  1. Tap the microphone button on the Google Search box.
  2. Press and hold the physical Search button for a few seconds.
Here's a list of supported commands:
  • send text to [contact] [message]
  • listen to [artist/song/album]
  • call [business]
  • call [contact]
  • send email to [contact] [message]
  • go to [website]
  • note to self [note]
  • navigate to [location/business name]
  • directions to [location/business name]
  • map of [location]
Voice Actions is actually part of Voice Search. So, when you search for it on Market, use Voice Search or scan the QR code below. Note that Voice Actions/Search  only works with US English speakers.

Watch the demo

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