Google announced a new feature called Voice Actions for Android 2.2. The interactive voice command feature improves productivity and efficiency on the go by enabling mobile business professionals to perform most common Android actions by simply talking to the smartphone.
A post on the Official Google Blog described the new feature "Voice Actions are a series of spoken commands that let you control your phone using your voice. 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."
Google also explains "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."
With Google Voice Actions, users can interact with a wide variety of Android smartphone functionality without having to fumble with a virtual keyboard, or a physical keyboard with keys the size of the teardrops that land on them when you're frustrated by trying to type on them.
Prior versions of Android have also had some interactive voice capabilities. Those capabilities were not as robust, though. Beyond searching Google or speaking content to fill in text fields, Voice Actions in Froyo let users set alarms, record a note to self, get a map or directions and navigate to the location, send e-mails, and much more.
Apple's iPhone has had limited voice command capabilities for some time as well, however the iPhone voice commands offer more limited functionality. The iPhone lets users call contacts stored in the smartphone, or specific phone numbers by speaking into the phone. But, aside from that the iPhone voice control is limited to operating the iPod music player or checking the time.
There are other voice-enabled functions on the iPhone that are built into specific apps. For example, the Bing app for iPhone allows users to click on the microphone and initiate searches with voice commands, and the Dragon Dictation app converts speech to text--enabling users to post Facebook status updates or Twitter tweets, send e-mails or text messages, or simply convert spoken words to text to copy and paste into other apps.
The interactive voice command feature is built in to the new Droid 2 Android smartphone, and is available as a free download for other Froyo devices.
As a side note, Google also rolled out another innovative new feature called Chrome to Phone. This feature lets users transfer information such as driving directions, phone numbers, and Web URLs from the Chrome Web browser to an Android smartphone so they don't have to start over or go through more cumbersome processes to copy and paste it. Google is also working on Chrome to Phone capabilities for the iPhone.