Google Brings Voice Actions to Android Phones

Google today announced voice actions for Android. An add on for the existing Voice Search application, the update lets you control other aspects of phone using your voice. Whether you're sending texts, listening to music making phone calls or navigating to your favourite restaurant, you no longer have to worry about that pesky touchscreen.

Check out the full list of actions available to users:

  • 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]
  • search

If you've used Voice Search before, you likely know that it can sometimes be way off the mark. The same can be said for these new features. I downloaded the application for my Nexus One to give it a shot. I don't know if it was my accent (because Google says it only works for US English speakers), but all of my attempts to send emails returned either a server error or some very weird 'Did you mean … ' options. I didn't have much success sending texts, either – it thought I was trying to use the search function every single time. The same thing happened when I tried to create a note. The only things that did work were voice dialing and, after a few attempts, navigation.

Check out the video below to see how it should work.

You'll need Android 2.2 to download the app (search for "voice search" in the market place). Let me know if you have more luck than I did!

Jane McEntegart works in marketing communications at Intel and was previously Manager of Content Marketing at ASUS North America. Before that, she worked for more than seven years at Tom's Guide and Tom's Hardware, holding such roles as Contributing Editor and Senior News Editor and writing about everything from smartphones to tablets and games consoles.