Google recently released new voice recognition software for their Android OS called Google Voice Actions. It is now possible to launch quite a few instructions using your voice only to your Android phone.
The set of commands allow you to do the following:
- Send text messages
- Listen to Music
- Call Businesses
- Get directions
- Call Contacts
- Send email
- View a map
- Go to a website
- Send a note to self
- and Search Google
Each command is activated when you say a phrase in a certain way. For example if you would like to send an email you would say “Send email to (Recipient)” followed by “(subject)” and then “(the message)”
I have been trying it out for several days now and have been surprised at how accurate it is in recognising what I say. Definitely a different animal to what voice recognition was like with WinMo. I found that I could speak in my normal voice speed and tone and Voice Actions would quickly do it’s magic. I tried several English language variations including English (US), English(UK) and and English(Australian), but found English (US) to be the most accurate for me.
From time to time you would come across a few mis-recognised words or phrases and there are options for you to correct it. To edit you either highlight the part that is not correct and say the word or speak the phrase again. If all else fails you can go back to the keyboard.
With emails I found that even with errors it was still faster to speak and edit than it was to just type the email. I managed to send off email while driving as well (in between lights and traffic jams of course! I don’t condone this in any way, was all in the name of research). This would have been pretty much impossible if I needed to edit from the phone keypad.
Using the Map voice actions was surprisingly effective while driving as well. I asked for directions while driving to Time Square, Hong Kong and it was pretty snappy in loading it onto Google Maps for me.
One problem Google has right now however, is that not all Android phones are created equal. Currently Voice Actions is only available for the Android 2.2 OS. I actually can not think of any current Android phone in Hong Kong that is running Android 2.2. The HTC Desire I am currently using has the Android 2.2 OS released in Europe, but not here in Hong Kong. The only reason I can run Voice Actions is that I have a cooked rom running on my Desire for now.
Perhaps Android is still relatively new, but there seems to be a patch work of many different Android phones running many different versions of Android OS. This can be a little annoying when Google releases some nice new features for their Android operating system, which will only work with the latest OS.
More information about Google Voice Actions here