Google ‘Voice Actions’ Eases Search (& More) On Android

Life just got a little easier for U.S.-based smartphone users running Android 2.2 (Froyo). During a press event this morning, Google announced “Voice Actions,” a series of commands that lets users speak tasks that typically require typing. Danny Sullivan was at the event and live-blogged it here on SEL, and now there’s more information from Google’s blog.

Voice Actions automates a variety of common smartphone tasks. By speaking a command, users can do general web searches or local searches, look up maps, get navigation, send emails or texts, and many more things. This Google video shows many Voice Actions in … well, action.

Voice Actions is available now for U.S. English speakers only, and it’s only available on Android 2.2. You can read Google’s blog post for details about accessing Voice Actions via different smartphones, and for a list of commands.

If you follow the Google vs. Apple mobile meme, you’ll remember that Apple has similar technology in-house now thanks to its recent acquisition of Siri.

Related Topics: Channel: Mobile | Google: Mobile | Google: Voice Search


About The Author: is Editor-In-Chief of Search Engine Land. His news career includes time spent in TV, radio, and print journalism. His web career continues to include a small number of SEO and social media consulting clients, as well as regular speaking engagements at marketing events around the U.S. He recently launched a site dedicated to Google Glass called Glass Almanac and also blogs at Small Business Search Marketing. Matt can be found on Twitter at @MattMcGee and/or on Google Plus. You can read Matt's disclosures on his personal blog.

Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn


Get all the top search stories emailed daily!  


Other ways to share:

Read before commenting! We welcome constructive comments and allow any that meet our common sense criteria. This means being respectful and polite to others. It means providing helpful information that contributes to a story or discussion. It means leaving links only that substantially add further to a discussion. Comments using foul language, being disrespectful to others or otherwise violating what we believe are common sense standards of discussion will be deleted. Comments may also be removed if they are posted from anonymous accounts. You can read more about our comments policy here.
  • gdprice

    Sounds cool but what if you’re not an Android person, perhaps you use an iPhone person, use a Blackberry or have a simple mobile phone, apps are not you’re thing.

    Here are two options in ADDITION to SIRI that’s now part of Apple.

    1) Vlingo (app for iPhone, Android, Nokia, Blackberry)

    App is free and basic services are also free.

    Basic service include using your voice to access:

    For example: Sushi in Bellevue, Washington. Data from Google.

    Social Updates
    Post to Twitter and/or Update your Facebook status. You can update one service at a time or update both with one call.

    Web Search
    Default search is Google but can be switched to Yahoo or Bing.

    Voice Dial
    (Based on Your Contact Directory)

    Vlingo also provides two fee-based services. They cost $6.99 each or 9.99 (for both). They’re one-time fees. Now that Google’s in the space we will watch to see if Vlingo ends charging them even though they are not that expensive.

    Fee-Based Services.

    A) Speak and send a text (SMS) message.
    B) Speak and send an email.

    We spent some time using it today and after only a few searches, it appears to work well.

    Another IVR (interactive voice response) service has been around since the late 1999 and was acquired by Microsoft in 1997 for “close to $800 million”.

    We’re talking about Tellme Networks.

    Their consumer service now includes the Bing name. The official name is now, “Tellme Powered by Bing” or Bing 411.

    We’ve used it for years and it works well.

    Access: 1-800-555-TELL or 1-800-Bing-411 and you’re ready to go.

    The service (at either telephone number) is free and works with all Smartphones or feature phones. When we checked today the services available at Tellme or Bing 411 were identical.

    Tellme/Bing411 focuses entirely on info vs. also offering dictation services.

    What categories of info are available?

    Business Search

    Driving Directions





    Cheap Gas (Beta and it does need work)

    Stock Quotes



    Travel (Examples: Say an Airline name and you’ll be be connected to the reservation center) or say “taxi” and you’ll or to the Bing preferred taxi provider for the area where you want a cab.


    In many cases the service will dial the number, share the info with others, or text the info to you.

    So, no matter what type of phone, you now have two services, one app based and the other requiring no download. Both are free.

Get Our News, Everywhere!

Daily Email:

Follow Search Engine Land on Twitter @sengineland Like Search Engine Land on Facebook Follow Search Engine Land on Google+ Get the Search Engine Land Feed Connect with Search Engine Land on LinkedIn Check out our Tumblr! See us on Pinterest


Click to watch SMX conference video

Join us at one of our SMX or MarTech events:

United States


Australia & China

Learn more about: SMX | MarTech

Free Daily Search News Recap!

SearchCap is a once-per-day newsletter update - sign up below and get the news delivered to you!



Search Engine Land Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors

Get Your Copy
Read The Full SEO Guide