First look: Google's new Voice Actions for Android

Google Voice Actions for Android

I hope you and your Android phone are close, because the two of you are about to be talking more than ever.

Google has just expanded Android's voice-control possibilities with a new app called Voice Actions. The program, unveiled Thursday morning, lets you control all sorts of stuff on your phone simply by speaking to it.

Ready for a tour?

(Sorry -- you'll have to scroll down the page the old-fashioned way. Our blog-reading-by-voice system is still under development.)

Google's Voice Actions for Android

Google's Voice Actions builds upon Android's existing voice-to-text functionality. It used to be you could dictate text into your phone and issue a few simple commands, like calling a contact or conducting a search. With Voice Actions added in, you can do a whole lot more.

Voice Actions lets you send text messages, load songs or albums, call businesses, send e-mails, send yourself reminder notes, and pull up Web sites, maps, and directions -- all with only a single touch of your phone. You simply hold down the device's "Search" button and start talking.

Here's the official list of Voice Actions for Android commands:

  • 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]
Voice Actions Barcode

Google's Voice Actions for Android is now available free of charge in the Android Market. There's one catch, though: The app runs only on phones that have received the Android 2.2 upgrade (including the new Droid 2, which comes with Froyo preinstalled).

If your phone hasn't gotten its Froyo fix yet, don't fret: There is a way you can access most of the same voice-powered functionality. Click over to "How to get Android voice control without Froyo" for the full scoop.

This story is from the new Android Power blog at Computerworld. Follow @AndroidPower on Twitter or subscribe via RSS to make sure you don't miss a beat.

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