Control Android devices with voice

Google has expanded the voice command capability of Android with Voice Actions, a free app that lets you speak to control music playback, maps, and more.

In a wise move to keep Android devices ahead of the curve in terms of features, Google has released Voice Actions. The free app, which requires Android 2.2 (Froyo) and higher, is pretty simple: it let's you speak several handy commands that access various features on your phone. Simply stating a word automatically launches a Web search, or you can use specific statements to send e-mails and text messages, listen to music, pull up maps, get directions, or make a note to yourself.

We put Voice Actions to the test on a Motorola Droid running Froyo and found that the app can be quite useful--about half the time. There were actually a fair amount of commands that it just couldn't get, such as "send e-mail to Antuan Goodwin, hello how are you" and "directions to Papalote." Now, we understand the second one isn't precisely English as it's a Mexican restaurant, but considering Google's own example of Pizzeria Venti, we were still a bit surprised. We tried those two several times without success.

However, we were able to get somewhere with "map of San Francisco" and "directions to Nopa" (yes, we like restaurants). We were also pleased with the music functionality since it let us choose which app we wanted to listen with. In any event, you can expect to get some mixed results from Voice Actions, though it is quite easy to use. Plus, it's free, which means it's certainly worth a download regardless. Just remember to e-nun-ci-ate.

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