Google launches Voice Actions for Android, Chrome to Phone

Google has announced a new voice recognition application and an app which allows users to send content with one click to phones running Android 2.2 -- both of which are available for download now -- at a press event in San Francisco earlier today.

The voice recognition app, dubbed 'Voice Actions' by Google and available for download now, allows users to speak actions into their Android smartphone and even dictate messages and emails simply by speaking. While many other devices, including the popular iPhone (although commands supported leave much to be desired), offer voice recognition features, Voice Actions has perhaps the most comprehensive offerings, with current actions available 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]

All voice proccessing is done on Google's servers rather than the phone, with the upcoming Motorola Droid 2 to become the first phone to have the application pre-installed when it ships. Those with a Nexus One device that has been updated to Android 2.2 can download the application from the Android Marketplace now, although support is limited to US English for the moment. Google says more languages will be available "soon".

The Chrome to Phone extension meanwhile allows users who browse the web using Google's own web browser, Chrome, to with just one click send the current web page they are on, a map, YouTube video, or even selected phone number or text over-the-air to their Android phone - which must be running the latest version of Android, 2.2 (or code-named Froyo).

Earlier speculation that Google may have announced better support for video calling for Android, to rival Apple's FaceTime application, proved false, with the search giant choosing to reserve any such announcements for a later date - perhaps October, when Android 3.0 is widely expected to be unveiled.

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31 Comments

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Installed this... doesn't seem that accurate and certainly not as accurate as goggle would have us believe in their little promo vid ;-) Maybe its more accurate if we speak with an American accent?
"send text to" (recipient) (message) just brings up a goggle search page with "did you mean...?"
"Call (contact-mobile) again just brings up "did you mean...?" sat in a quiet room for about 40 mins trying to get it to recognise my voice/accent... nope! God only knows what it would be like in the real world with some background noise etc.... I'd have to say this is pretty useless in its current form :-( tried this on both HTC Desire and HTC Wildfire

Someone needs to compare this with Microsoft's TellMe software.
I know their phoneOS isn't out yet, but TellMe is used in pretty much every voice system Microsoft have.

Installed yesterday, it works pretty well!

It actually has maybe a 95% recognition rate and it controls the phone. A long press on the search key will bring it up and you can say stuff like "call Jim Smith Mobile" and it'll dial. You can also dictate text messages and start the music player (well there is some weirdness there, it won't pull the Music app on my phone, it always starts Last.fm).

All voice proccessing is done on Google's servers rather than the phone

So, you can't use Voice Actions without internet connection?

RuuddieBoy said,

So, you can't use Voice Actions without internet connection?

What's the point of having a smartphone if you don't have a flat data plan?

Fedr0 said,

What's the point of having a smartphone if you don't have a flat data plan?

I like it's flexibilty and ease of use. I hate going through menus with a button and not having a keyboard.
Besides, people are in foreign countries quite a lot nowadays, where you pay 10 times as much. (For example, I live 5km from the German and 30km from the Belgian border)

dingdong3000 said,
isn't this Voice Search on the android market in uk?

Voice search - yes
Voice actions - no

Unless they are the same thing? Voice search was pre-installed on my HTC Desire, so I doubt the two are the same.

JustinN said,

Voice search - yes
Voice actions - no

Unless they are the same thing? Voice search was pre-installed on my HTC Desire, so I doubt the two are the same.

Voice Actions is within Voice Search as far as I can tell. May have to update...

QuentinButz said,

Voice Actions is within Voice Search as far as I can tell. May have to update...

I can't edit... but yes, it needs Voice Search updating to v2

QuentinButz said,

I can't edit... but yes, it needs Voice Search updating to v2

Thanks for the clarification.

The UK is currently on 1.4.6, so hopefully we can get an update soon.

US only and requires 2.2, ah well no matter. Most likely by the time I get 2.2 for my Desire this will be available outside the US but I'm not holding my breath, still waiting for Google Maps Navigation to be released here (Australia).

codename.venice said,
How is accuracy of this app as compared to its iPhone counterpart? any1 tested?

Well one guy up there said that the iPhone's is terribly inaccurate. Hell, my Windows Mobile phone from 5 years ago can use voice commands PERFECTLY, for dialing a phone number, calling a contact, playing an artist, and starting any program. I'm sure Google can make just as good voice command reliability as a 5 year old operating system had.

andrewbares said,

Well one guy up there said that the iPhone's is terribly inaccurate. Hell, my Windows Mobile phone from 5 years ago can use voice commands PERFECTLY, for dialing a phone number, calling a contact, playing an artist, and starting any program. I'm sure Google can make just as good voice command reliability as a 5 year old operating system had.

Oh and since the voice commands are processed online, they should be even more accurate than Windows Mobile, which is processed on the device yet very accurate.

Neat, wont be able to use this until I get a new phone. Which is fine...hopefully the rumors about a an HSPA phone for T-Mobile is true....

Shiranui said,
W,w,w,w,wicked sick.

I cannot wait until October, when I'll finally get my hands on an Android phone.

Wait till November so you can get the Droid Pro

Nightwind Hawk said,

Wait till November so you can get the Droid Pro

Wait till March so you can get Android on iPhone. Oh wait ...

Jebadiah said,
Wait till March so you can get Android on iPhone. Oh wait ...

Why would you want that? Android hardware is better, you have OPTIONS, like a keyboard, an AMOLED screen, etc.

andrewbares said,

Why would you want that? Android hardware is better, you have OPTIONS, like a keyboard, an AMOLED screen, etc.

My comment was meant to be sarcastic. Now you ruined it.

The voice actions are definitely cool. Voice actions on the iPhone suck right now.

Chrome to Phone's neat, but nothing I don't already have with Safari, the 2Prowl extension, and Prowl on my iPhone.

Elliott said,
The voice actions are definitely cool. Voice actions on the iPhone suck right now.

Chrome to Phone's neat, but nothing I don't already have with Safari, the 2Prowl extension, and Prowl on my iPhone.

I agree. The voice actions on iPhone are terribly inaccurate and can be very frustrating.