Sure, everyone and their cousin knows about Apple’s Siri, but not every Android user realized their phones are just as competent as reliable when it comes to recognizing voice inputs – they just don’t speak back or exhibit a virtual personality. In any case, there are many occasions when Voice Commands can be extremely practical for Android Users. This article brought to you by Dom’s Tech Blog will cover some practical examples of things you can do just by speaking out to your Android.
Remember, if voice recognition doesn’t seem to be enabled in the Android version in your device, check the Settings menu and/or install the “Voice Commands” app from Google. If this feature is already installed, you should see a microphone icon in your home screen – right alongside the Google search box. Just the icon to have your phone listen in (if you say nothing and there’s a music playing, it will try to recognize the tune).
Making Calls / Sending Texts / e-Mail
To begin with, you can now use the basic phone and messaging capabilities in your device just by speaking out; this can be especially useful when you’re driving.
CALL (contact name): this will start a phone call to the name you mention, and if it doesn’t understand the name you’ll see a list of possibilities based on your contact list.
SEND TEXT TO (contact, message): useful for sending a quick text message; just state your intended contact first, then voice your message.
SEND E-MAIL TO (contact, message): works just like sending a text.
NOTE TO SELF: this command will draft an e-mail message directed at your own address, meant for future reference.
Useful Voice Queries
In many cases, you’ll do a lot faster by just asking your Android something, rather than typing it out. Let’s see some typical examples:
GO TO (website name): this command will open the browser and open the website you point out. Works like a charm for popular websites with a recognizable brand name.
DEFINE (word): this query will retrieve a dictionary definition for the word you mention.
HOW’s THE WEATHER FOR (date range or day): this will load a weather report for the days or date range you point out.
SCAN A BARCODE: this command will allow you to instantly scan barcodes or QR codes without need for a separate app.
CREATE CALENDAR EVENT (message + date): keep your calendar up to date very easily with this voice action.
SHOW VIDEO FOR (query): this will perform a Google query that favors relevant videos for what you’re looking.
You can also perform a Google search just by speaking out the query rather than typing it.
OPEN (app): an easy way to open an app that’s already installed in your phone
MAP OF (location): this will quickly pull up a map of the location you mention
DIRECTIONS TO (location): it will open Google Map and point out directions from your current location to the location you mention.
NAVIGATE TO (location): similar to the command above, but will present turn-by-turn directions for your easy reference.
For most of us technology adepts – even those from a younger generation – speaking to electronics devices still feels a bit awkward and impractical. However, at this point that’s mostly a matter of habit rather than a technological limitation. In other words, your smartphone is already better capable of understanding you than you realize.