“Phone, get me a number for that curry place on Fisherton Street, send a text to my girlfriend and start playing track six from ‘Houses of the Holy’”.
Ok so Google Voice Actions for Android isn’t quite that exact, but this new update from Google pretty much allows you to tell your phone what you want it to do.
As the video below shows you can quickly search for directions, call, send texts and emails to contacts and activate your phone’s music player simply by tapping the microphone icon next to the search bar and saying the relevant voice command.
For example, to call someone you simply tap the microphone button and say ‘Call Andrew Lim’, and your phone will bring up a list of numbers for that contact (home, office, mobile etc).
Searching for directions works really well; you simply say ‘navigate to’ and then tell your phone where you need to go. Results are displayed in Google Maps (make sure GPS is turned on) and you can choose to get directions based on your mode of transport (by car, on foot or by bus).
Other features of Voice Actions for Android allow you to go directly to a website, set alarms for the next day and take notes (Say “note to self” and then recite your message) effectively turning your phone into a dictation device.
Sometimes you have to be clear with your voice commands. Try speaking in your best Queen’s English, otherwise you’ll get some odd results.
When testing out the send text feature for the first time, Voice Search translated the command ‘Send text to’ as “Semtex au” and then Googled that, potentially flagging Recombu.com as a terrorist cell on a government database. “Listen to These New Puritans” also yielded some iffy results including “Listen to the uk piercings” and “mission to the future research”.
Voice Actions for Android is available to download now for phones running Android 2.2/Froyo.