Google released Voice Actions today, a new Android app that provides voice-activated support for a list of tasks that users can now ask their mobile phone to do. Augmenting the voice search option on all Android mobile handsets ru
nning version 2.2, this will allow for even less typing or other manual navigation for such common tasks as making calls, writing e-mails or texts or listening to music.
Demonstrated at a press gathering in San Francisco, Voice Actions helps users perform commonly performed workflows that are listed in Google's blog and mobile blog:
send text to [contact] [message]
listen to [artist/song/album]
send email to [contact] [message]
go to [website]
note to self [e-mail to self]
navigate to [location/business name]
directions to [location/business name]
map of [location]
Android's new functionality is being developed to give users what Google refers to as "the most natural way of interacting with a phone." While voice command development has been complicated, it is still at a more usable stage than mind-activated mobile phone navigation such as ThinkContacts' app.
Voice Actions is not the first of its kind, and as The New York Times' Bits Blog explains, its release engages in competition with Apple's Siri, a voice-command app for the iPhone. Apple acquired the developers of Siri back in April, which can follow more commands, such as booking restaurant reservations.
Also announced today, Google's Chrome-to-Phone is a new button on the Chrome Web browser interface that sends selected information directly to an Android device (again, using the latest version 2.2). The button can send phone numbers, links, maps, and allows for an easier way to take tasks from the personal computer to a mobile device.