Google Voice Search brings Voice Actions to Android

Android 2.2 users can download Google Voice Action for a variety of voice commands
Android 2.2 users can download Google Voice Action for a variety of voice commands

If you have an Android device with Froyo, you can now use your voice to make calls, search local business, send texts, and more thanks to a new app from Google.

We knew that Google was going to unveil something cool today and the search giant didn’t disappoint. With Google Voice Action for Android, you’ll be able to give a series of speech commands that are quickly deciphered over the cloud and turned into actions.

Once the Google Action for Android app is installed, you’ll be able to tap the microphone button and speak a variety of actions including:

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]

This is just the latest way Google is trying to jump into voice, as it already has Google 411 and the speech-to-text functionality on Android 2.1. These services, along with the Voice Action for Android, make the platform more compelling and useful, Google says.

Another reason Google has invested so much in voice services is that it contains a ton of demographic data. Google doesn’t like to talk about this but a voice search can tell you so much more about the person inquiring, as you can get the user’s approximate age and sex from their voice.

The move comes as speech commands may be the next, big battleground. Apple recently spent about $200 million to buy the speech-controlled Siri and that should soon be integrated into the iPhone operating system. Microsoft is boasting that the upcoming Windows Phone 7 platform will have industry-leading speech software.

Look for other handset makers to place an emphasis on speech control software with newer handsets and I wouldn’t be surprised if a Samsung or LG Electronics soon purchased a company like Vlingo.

The company has also introduced a new voice search widget for 2.0 devices and above. Check out the video below for a taste of the Voice Actions app, which is available for 2.2 devices and above. The new speech-to-action app is only available in English right now but I’m sure that will include more languages in the future.

[Via Google Mobile Blog]

  • TJ L

    We hope people compare the different voice applications for themselves. To help you out, Vlingo is now free on Android Market. Check it out and let us know what you think. Plus, we also bring our intelligent voice application to those of us still on 2.0 or 2.1. Details on our blog

  • Thestrangeblue

    Where can I find detailed documentation of Voice Actions? Aside from a handful of examples Google publicizes, it’s not clear to me how to generalize the syntax.

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