Google has recently launched a new service which should make life a lot easier for Android phones owners. Voice Actions allows users to control their mobile devices using spoken commands.
The new feature is implemented by the Voice Search application which is available for download on the Android Market.
Voice Actions are a series of spoken commands that can be used to tell the mobile phone to perform various actions.
With the feature, users can call or send text messages and emails to their contacts, listen to music, browser the Internet, and perform other useful tasks.
The format of the spoken command is: a pre-configured command such as "send email" or "map of" followed by some parameters such as the contact number and the desired message in the case of emails, or the wanted location in the latter case.
For example, to get in touch with Eric Schmidt (Google's chairman and CEO) one would simply have to say "call Eric Schmidt work" to dial his work number.
Or, when needing to quickly navigate to a website (e.g. Wikipedia) one can say "go to Wikipedia" and the page would open in the Internet browser.
The list of commands supported by the application includes:
• 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]
To activate Voice Actions, users have two options.
The first one is to tap the microphone button found on the Google search box on the home screen.
The second is to press down the physical search button on the mobile phone to launch the "Speak Now" screen.
Voice Actions is currently available for U.S. English speakers and comes pre-installed on the recently launched Motorola Droid 2.
Owners of other phones running Android 2.2 (Froyo) will have to download several application updates to use the service to its full potential: Voice Search, the Google Search widget and a music player such as Pandora, Last.fm, Rdio, mSpot.