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August 12, 2010

Android Voice Actions

Google updated Android's voice search application and added support for actions. In addition to searching the Web, you can now use the application to send text messages and email messages, find songs and start playing them, call your contacts and local businesses, launch Google Maps Navigation and get directions to a location, visit a site using Google's "I'm Feeling Lucky" feature and more. It's like iPhone's voice control, except that there are more actions available and you need an Internet connection to use it.

"Voice Actions are a series of spoken commands that let you control your phone using your voice. To use Voice Actions, tap the microphone button on the Google search box on your home screen, or press down for a few seconds on the physical search button on your phone to activate the Speak Now screen," explains Google.

Here are some examples of actions you can try after installing the app:
* go to Google News
* map of London
* call [name of one of your contacts]

For some reason, you can't use the built-in app to play music, so you need to install Pandora,, Rdio or mSpot before using actions like "listen to Morcheeba". It would be nice to use voice actions to launch applications or to use custom actions defined by other applications.

The new version of the voice search application requires Android 2.2 (Froyo) and voice actions are limited to English (US). Search for [voice search] in the Android Market or use this QR code. If you're not in the US, you want to try the application and you have root access to your phone, you might need to install Market Enabler and fake your location.

Google also released:

* a new version of the Gesture Search app for Android, which adds a motion gesture for starting the application
* a new version of the Google Search widget, with support for query refinements
* Chrome to Phone, which lets you send links and short texts from Google Chrome to a phone that runs Android Froyo. If you've previously installed the Chrome extension and the associated Android app, you should first uninstall them. There's also a Firefox extension that offers similar features.

{ via Google Blog }


  1. Do you know if they plan this for release in the UK?

  2. Can it translate by voice too?
    I mean can I give it a voice order like this "Translate "book" to Arabic"?

  3. There's no need for any tricks to find this in other countries anymore.

  4. I think when they said 'available in US-English', they meant the language accent, and not the country!

  5. I'm in Australia, and I do have it installed, but its quirky at best. Even tried playing back the voice commands from the youtube video into my phone, but it didn't pick them up correctly :(

  6. I don't get why you still can't do a "Navigate to "

  7. oops, It didn't like the way I typed that. That was supposed to say "Navigate to (contact name)"

    1. Totally agree!! Very annoying. I want to navigate to contact name!

  8. I don't uderstand why 'listen to' command can't work with built-in music player. I don't wish to stream music through 3G while driving to work. I just wish to listen to my mp3. Fix this!

  9. didn't microsoft do this long long ago on win mobile? AND they catered for regional accents.

  10. Whenever I try to use the voice actions on my Desire, it just comes up with Google search, if I say Send message to Dad Hello. It comes up with a Google search for Send message to Dad Hello.
    I have updated Google search and voice search. Navigate to and directions to work, but no others.

  11. You have to switch the voice input to english US, english UK/Canada etc don't give you the new commands, just search and navigate.

    settings>voice input & output>voice recognition settings>language>english (us)

    don't forget; aluminium = aloooom-in-um and herb = erb.


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