Google Voice Actions adds to Android experience, frames future of mobile use

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Last week, Google announced Voice Actions for Android, a robust set of voice commands that allow you to do anything from write a text message, begin navigating to a map location, retrieve directory listings or send an email. For the phone platform known for feature-richness, this is a leap forward for users.

Watch Google's video on Voice Actions:

How well does it work?

This third-party test drive praises the complexity of the appliation but notes it's still lacking in the field. The test of usefulness here is the speed and convenience to complete the desired (often routine) task. If it ends up taking less time to manually complete the task, or if you have to switch to manual to choose between search options, the practicality of the feature diminishes.

It's cool, but when will it catch on?

Google prides itself at releasing features the iPhone doesn't yet have. It's no surprise Voice Actions has more commands than Voice Control on the iPhone, a feature I use almost daily to place calls. Like the Android test drive link above, the iPhone feature has some humorous inaccuracies, however for dialing, voice activation is accurate for 80-90% of the people I call. However, just this weekend I get the sense voice commands haven't yet caught traction. The other day I was driving a car full of techies on the bleeding edge who chuckled when they heard me talking to my phone to make a call.

Have you used this feature on the Android phone yet? If so, tell us about it!

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