Google has officially rolled out its Voice Actions service in the UK.
The service, which is available on smartphones and tablets running Android version 2.2 or better, allows the user to talk directly to the microphone on their device. Commands will then be interpreted and acted upon.
Google has implemented Voice Actions not just in English for the UK, but in other European languages, with France, Italy, Germany and Spain also being covered.
It works simply by tapping the microphone button on the Google search box on your phone’s home screen. This brings up a “speak now” prompt, and you can instruct your handset to perform a number of tasks.
Sending a text message, for example, is achieved simply by saying: “Send text to John Smith”, then you can dictate the message itself. So there’s no need to type a letter, in theory anyway, providing the voice technology can pick up your message accurately.
Voice recognition has advanced a good deal in recent times, although of course you can edit anything that’s wrong anyway, which is still going to be quicker than having to tap out the full message.
Apparently it works pretty well on the whole, although if you have a strong regional accent, you might find the results less pleasing.
So what else can you do with Voice Actions? “Call John Smith” will ring our commonly named friend, “Go to Facebook” will open up Facebook in your web browser, and “Directions to Euston station” will pull up Google maps with navigation directions to help ensure you don’t miss your train.
It’s clever stuff, and if you want Voice Actions on your phone, you can grab the app from the Android Market. Reviews have been largely positive thus far, with the app scoring an average of 4.4 out of 5.