Google has introduced Voice Actions for Android smart-phone devices. Voice Actions are a series of spoken commands that gives phone-users voice-control of their device. This makes it possible to perform activities such as, calling businesses and contacts, sending texts and email, listening to music, browsing the web, and completing common tasks through spoken commands instead of pressing keys or buttons. In addition users can also search the Internet, set e-mail reminders, set the alarm clock, find directions and open a map. Read how to use Google Android’s voice commands here.
This development is already being hailed as “the most significant progress Google has made in speech recognition ever since voice search was launched two years ago.” Already voice search represents one in every four searched made on Android. Meanwhile, Google has released an updated version of its search widget for Android. Both Voice Actions and the new Google search widget requires Android 2.2. (Froyo), and will be pre-installed with the new Droid smart-phone from Motorola and Verizon. Users of other phones with Android 2.2. such as Nexus One, HTC Evo or the original Droid will need to download several app updates (see listed below) from the Android Market to get all the latest functionalities.
- Voice Search app (includes Voice Actions)
- Google Search widget
- Music apps for example, Pandora, Last.fm, Rdio and mSpot
Presently, Voice Actions are only available for U.S. English speakers. Google hopes that this new feature will continue to boost Android sales and keep it ahead of its competitors such as Apple, who have a similar application called Sirl that allow users to find restaurant addresses or movie listings with voice commands.
What role will the ability to interact with devices by speech play in future mobile phone development?