Google enables voice action for Android

Woah, Google’s Android mobile OS just became even cooler! So, stop eyeing that shiny iPhone 4 or lusting after the burning BlackBerry Torch – because now you can issue voice commands to your Android smartphone.

As Hugo Barra of Google explains, “voice actions” are a series of spoken commands that allows users to control their phones. 

“The most natural way of interacting with a phone remains what it always has been: speaking,” Barra wrote in a Google blog post.

“[You can] call businesses and contacts, send texts and email, listen to music, browse the web, and complete common tasks, all just by speaking into your phone.”

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.

Speak any of these commands to perform a VA on your phone:

  • 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]

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.

However, if you have another phone with Android 2.2 (such as the Nexus One, HTC Evo or the original Droid), you’ll need to download the following updates from Android Market:

  • Voice Search (this app includes Voice Actions).
  • Google Search widget.
  • Music apps (e.g. Pandora,, Rdio, mSpot).