Android Has A Voice Too

Yesterday Todd wrote about the voice control features coming to Windows Phone with the next major update, code named “Mango.” One thing about voice control (or speech recognition) is that it’s easy to forget that it is on a phone, so I thought I would point out that you can use Voice Actions to control smartphones running Android.

Voice Actions includes ten different commands for controlling the phone. For example, to call someone in your contacts list you say “call [contact name] [phone type].” You can use voice commands to send text messages, get directions, send e-mail, view a map, open a web site, write a note to yourself, or listen to music.

To use the voice actions, you start Voice Search by either tapping the Google Search widget or holding down the search button until the Voice Search prompt displays. Watch the following video for a demonstration of voice actions:

One limitation to Android’s voice actions as well as the solution coming in Mango is that they require a connection to the Internet because the speech translation is done on servers rather than on the phone. Microsoft has a product called Voice Command, which they originally introduced for the Pocket PC, that works entirely on the phone.

The disadvantage of doing speech recognition entirely on the phone is that it requires a significant amount of storage and it is not easy to make improvements to the recognition. By running the speech recognition on servers Google and Microsoft can continually improve the recognition engine, making the product better over time. Of course, the trade-off is that it requires an Internet connection.

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