Well over a year ago, Google announced a little something called Google Voice Actions. An add-on for the existing Voice Search application, the update let Android users control other aspects of their phone using just their voice. Whether it was sending texts, listening to music, making phone calls or navigating to a favourite restaurant, users no longer had to worry about that pesky touchscreen. Now, Google is bringing those same features to Android users in the UK, France, Italy, Spain and Germany who wish to control their handset in British English, French, Italian, German or Spanish.
Available to users with Android 2.2 or higher, the following actions can now be executed using Voice Actions:
- send text to [contact] [message]
- call [business]
- call [contact]
- go to [website]
- navigate to [location/business name]
- directions to [location/business name]
- map of [location]
Speaking as someone with only a mild accent, I know that Google Voice Search or Google Voice Actions can sometimes be extremely frustrating. A quick experiment just now: Instead of "Have you tried switching it off and on again?" Google Voice Actions thinks I should text my sister, "B*** I'm taking it again." No word of a lie (and Google added the stars for me). A second try yielded, "Have you tried switching acid?" and a third, "I twitching eye again." Try number four got, "Have you tried putting it on again," which is closer, but it was fifth time's a charm as Google and I finally understood each other.
It does take some getting used to, learning to really, really enunciate and clip the end of each word cleanly, but the U.S. version can be used with an accent. It will be interesting to see how the British English version handles all of the different accents around the UK. Let us know how you get on in the comments below!
For those that need it, here's an instructional video from Google launched Voice Actions in the U.S.