Google has rolled out voice actions for Android, plus a Chrome tool allowing users to quickly send web links and information from their computer to phone.
‘Voice actions for Android' is designed to allow English-speaking users to interact with their Android handset in "the most natural way" by issuing a series of spoken commands to control the phone.
According to the Google Mobile blog, Android 2.2 Froyo owners will be able to: ‘Call businesses and contacts, send texts and email, listen to music, browse the web, and complete common tasks,' by speaking into their phone.
To use the tool, users can tap the microphone button on their home screen's Google search box, or press down on the physical search button for a few seconds to activate the ‘speak now' screen.
Users must then stick to a list of commands to perform a voice action on their phone, including:
- send text to [contact] [message]
- listen to [artist/song/album]
- call [business]
- call [contact]
- send email to [contact] [message]
- go to [website]
- note to self [note]
- navigate to [location/business name]
- directions to [location/business name]
- map of [location]
Users can still conduct a Google search by speaking into their phone and Google has also released a Google search widget for Android so if users type in a local query they will see a list of suggestions close by with addresses and ratings. Searches can also be refined by tapping a pencil icon.
The search giant has been busy and has rolled out a ‘Chrome to phone' extension for Android Froyo users, allowing them to send links and other information from their computer to mobile pronto and also encourage computer users to switch to using its Chrome browser.
The tool adds a button to the computer's Google Chrome browser enabling a webpage, map, YouTube video, number or text to be sent instantly to an Android device with one click.
Google said the tool will make switching between a computer and smartphone easier as people having to leave their computers can send whatever they were reading or watching to their smartphone and resume the activity on the go.
The tool also lets users look up an address on Google Maps on a computer then push the map and information straight to the Google Maps app on their phone. Similarly, phone numbers on a computer can be pushed directly to the dialler on the phone, while text can be sent to Android clipboard for later viewing.