Thursday, August 12, 2010

Google Launches New Voice Services

At a special event for Android in San Francisco today, Google announced its newest suite of services for Android tailored around voice actions. With it we’ve got your typical voice actions such as “call Megan Fox” and “send message to Megan Fox;” however, after that it starts to get interesting.

With the new action items, you can elaborate on that call or text by dictating the actual message – and if the demo is anything to go by, it actually works. So while this has actually been around for a little while from other app developers, the compatibility and accuracy has always been a little touchy. Here’s to hoping Google’s years of collecting voice recognition samples has come in handy.

Not content with just a typical implementation, Google expanded on the voice functionality quite a bit. In addition to allowing for location-specific phone look-up via voice so you could say “call Megan Fox Los Angeles” to make sure you’re getting the right number (She’s listed, right?), you can also go straight to a website, set alarms and speak locations for directions. Even bigger, Google has implemented online music searching with support for Pandora and via voice. Simply say “Find music [Artist Name]” and Google will scour the Internet to find what you’re looking for. When we used it for Lady GaGa, it instantly gave us the option to create a Pandora station.

If it thinks it might have missed a word, it will highlight it in blue and you can go in a fix it through the onscreen or physical keyboard pretty quickly. The suite is available now in the Android Market if you’re running Android 2.2 so feel free to jump on it. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like the expanded language support we saw for Google Voice Search (Spanish, French, Italian and Japanese) have made it to the voice actions but here’s to hoping for a quick update soon for our Android brethren across the sea.

It seems like voice services are becoming pretty popular lately. And why shouldn’t they? They are a lot safer for hands-free driving and make using a phone far more quick and convenient. If you haven’t heard, even Privus Mobile is getting in on the action with its latest demo for BlackBerry devices that features voice announce for incoming calls regardless of whether they are in your contacts list or not. If you weren’t in the demo group, keep your eyes open. It should be hitting an app store near you soon!

No comments: