Android Voice Actions

Google updated Android’s voice search application and added support for actions. In addition to searching the Web, you can now use the application to send text messages and email messages, find songs and start playing them, call your contacts and local businesses, launch Google Maps Navigation and get directions to a location, visit a site using Google’s “I’m Feeling Lucky” feature and more. It’s like iPhone’s voice control, except that there are more actions available and you need an Internet connection to use it.

“Voice Actions are a series of spoken commands that let you control your phone using your voice. To use Voice Actions, tap the microphone button on the Google search box on your home screen, or press down for a few seconds on the physical search button on your phone to activate the Speak Now screen,” explains Google.

Here are some examples of actions you can try after installing the app:
* go to Google News
* map of London
* call [name of one of your contacts]

For some reason, you can’t use the built-in app to play music, so you need to install Pandora,, Rdio or mSpot before using actions like “listen to Morcheeba”. It would be nice to use voice actions to launch applications or to use custom actions defined by other applications.

The new version of the voice search application requires Android 2.2 (Froyo) and voice actions are limited to English (US). Search for [voice search] in the Android Market or use this QR code. If you’re not in the US, you want to try the application and you have root access to your phone, you might need to install Market Enabler and fake your location.

Google also released:

* a new version of the Gesture Search app for Android, which adds a motion gesture for starting the application
* a new version of the Google Search widget, with support for query refinements
* Chrome to Phone, which lets you send links and short texts from Google Chrome to a phone that runs Android Froyo. If you’ve previously installed the Chrome extension and the associated Android app, you should first uninstall them. There’s also a Firefox extension that offers similar features.

{ via Google Blog }