According to our pals over at Android and Me, Google has spent much of the year putting in work on a newly revamped Voice Actions software, which they have codenamed Majel. You could consider this their answer to Apple’s Siri and will go far beyond what the current crop of Android Voice Actions can accomplish. The limits of specific commands (navigate to, listen to, etc.) will soon be gone and the times of speaking in natural language may be upon us.
Confused by the codename? The word Majel comes from the name of the woman who acted as the voice of the Federation Computer on Star Trek for years. And it just so happens that Matias Duarte (the ICS architect) mentioned Star Trek back in October around the time that Android 4.0 was unveiled. He was quoted as saying that their approach to voice actions “is more like Star Trek, right, starship Enterprise; every piece of computing surface, everything is voice-aware. It’s not that there’s a personality, it doesn’t have a name, it’s just Computer.” Fitting.
It’s anyone’s guess as to when we might see this new voice activated software, but there is a chance it could be out within the next couple of months. If Google wants to step into the voice actions game in a real way, it would be in their best interest to not wait around while Apple works to take Siri out of beta.
Is everyone ready to start talking to your phone like it’s your best friend?
With the announcement of the iPhone 4S and its Siri voice-integration followed by a couple of rumors that Google with introduce a similar service with Ice Cream Sandwich, we got to wondering how many people are actually interested in this type of software. Android has had Voice Actions for over a year now, but there have been other more advanced options on the market for just as long that don’t seem to get all that much love. With the unveiling of Siri, it seems like now this is the new cool thing because, well, Apple announced it. I personally have used Voice Actions or speech-to-text only when reviewing a service that has them and never in a real life situation other than to show it off as a cool feature to friends or family. I sort of get the feeling that I’m the minority.
Do I need to get with the times? Are highly-advanced voice-integrated services and apps the way of the future? Or are they the next gimmick like 3D on smartphones? Do we really have to watch the world walk around our streets talking to their phones as if they were a personal assistant? Maybe.
When Apple announced that Siri was going to be baked right into their OS, then showed off how it worked and how smart it seemed, I was a bit jelly. We luckily have some great Android apps that act in just the same way for us on our devices. Speaktoit is a free personal assistant which can be found right on the Android Market and the app does basically all the things you might want it to. Update your Facebook status, look up directions and many many other things. You can choose an avatar with whom you speak with. It’s actually quite the neat little app. (more…)
To our mates from across the pond, we would like to welcome you into the wonderful world of Google Voice Actions. Released today to the Android Market in the UK, France, Italy, Germany and Spain, the updated Google Search app makes hands-free searching, calling, and navigating a breeze.
To our friends here in the states, just watch the video and see if you don’t find yourself talking with a British accent for the next 5 minutes.
When Google announced “Voice Actions” for Froyo, there was one in particular which they advertised but appeared not to work correctly for, well, everyone. Luckily for us all, the G2 leaked system build keeps pumping out awesome updates to our favorite apps including a “set alarm…” voice action that had previously not been available. As you can see from the screenies above, the one on the left is the old version, with the right screenie showing it working flawlessly.
In a spurt of the moment press conference today, Google announced a couple of new features for Android 2.2 with the first being “Voice Actions.” We’ll let Google explain exactly that means…
Voice Actions are a series of spoken commands that let you control your phone using your voice. Call businesses and contacts, send texts and email, listen to music, browse the web, and complete common tasks, all just by speaking into your phone.
Make sense? Check out the video demo to really get it…
And like the title says, this is only available to those on Froyo meaning that Droid X and Incredible users out there are S.O.L. until we see an update. Droid 1 users and Droid 2 users though, have a blast!
For the list of commands, check out the official Google Voice Actions page here.
Also with this announcement, you have the option to download a new Voice Search app and a special widget. Voice search here. Widget here.