Voice Actions for Android tries to make your PA redundant

Google has launched a new app that should let you talk to your mobile phone as if you are asking a friend to do something for you.

It might sound like the stuff of sci-fi movies or an episode of Star Trek with Jean-Luc Picard, but Voice Actions for Android are a series of spoken commands that let you control your phone using your voice.

Google says the new offering, available to all Android 2.2 users (that's currently only Nexus One and some HTC Desire owners) will enable users to tell their phone to do certain things, and amazingly the phoneshould carry out the tasks without any back chat.

"To use Voice Actions, tap the microphone button on the Google search box on your home screen, or press down for a few seconds on the physical search button on your phone to activate the 'Speak Now' screen," Google says.

Users will be able to speak any of the following commands to perform a Voice Action on their phone in addition to getting your phone to carry out search queries:

- 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]

Both Voice Actions and the new Google search widget require Android 2.2 (Froyo), and will be pre-installed with the new Droid 2 phone from Motorola and Verizon.

Voice Actions are currently available for U.S. English speakers.

If you have another phone with Android 2.2 (like the Nexus One, HTC Evo or the original Droid), you’ll need to download several app updates from Android Market to get all the latest goodness says Google:

- Voice Search (this app includes Voice Actions)

- Google Search widget

- music apps (e.g. Pandora, Last.fm, Rdio, mSpot)



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