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Google Input Devices Cellphones GUI Handhelds Upgrades Technology

Google Introduces New Android Features 271

Posted by timothy
from the so-advanced-you-don't-even-need-it dept.
adeelarshad82 writes "Google introduced the next generation of interaction with its Android operating system by introducing a set of new features. The most prominent one is the voice-driven actions. Google executives outlined 12 new 'Voice Actions for Android,' including phone calls, reminder e-mails, direction search, and music search. The app is called 'Voice Search,' requires Android 2.2, and is available in the Android Market now. Voice actions can be triggered by clicking the 'microphone' icon on the screen. Saying 'call John Smith at home' will trigger the contacts list and voice dialer, 'find art museums in Amsterdam' would launch a Google Maps application, and 'listen to Ace of Base' will search for music from the artist on Pandora, Last.fm, or another music application. Another improvement worth a mention is 'Chrome to Phone,' allows users to click on a new 'mobile phone' icon to send links, YouTube videos, even directions, to the phone. So far, the features are exclusive to Android phones and US English, although the capabilities will be moved to other languages and other operating systems (including the iPhone) in the future." Add reader CWmike: "JR Raphael takes a first look at Voice Actions for Android, and tells you how to get voice control even if you are not on Froyo."
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Google Introduces New Android Features

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  • apple (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 12, 2010 @05:57PM (#33233540)

    Iphone had this a long time ago.

  • by deep9x (1068252) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @06:02PM (#33233594) Homepage
    If you had it previously installed, it'll silently just error out when you try to install the Marketplace version. Hopefully this comment will save 10 minutes of going "WTF?"
  • by R3d M3rcury (871886) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @06:12PM (#33233676) Journal

    Actions are nice, but so is the ability to ask questions.

    On my iPhone, if I'm listening to my music, I can ask "What song is this?" and the phone will tell me the name of the song and the band playing it.

  • Re:Voice control (Score:5, Informative)

    by timeOday (582209) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @06:16PM (#33233690)
    How much voice control? "Find nearest gas station" sounds like a handy thing to do, without trying to peck away at a (virtual) keyboard while driving. (We'll assume the driver is using a dash mount [buy.com]). Does the iPhone do this? Maybe it does, I wouldn't know.

    Of course, it all hinges on how well it actually works. My Garmin 60 CS has the ability to search for "points of interest" (including gas stations). But searching is so clunky and inaccurate - especially compared to what we're now used to with google maps - you only use it when you really must.

  • Re:apple (Score:4, Informative)

    by LBArrettAnderson (655246) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @06:22PM (#33233744)

    It's much, much more powerful than what you see in the /. summary, and more powerful than what iPhone has. Yes, part of the update is overdue, but they went above and beyond.

  • by funkylovemonkey (1866246) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @06:26PM (#33233772)
    The droid operating system has had voice commands for a long time now, my Droid 1 came with them back in December when I bought it. It's even been featured in commercials before. What this is isn't so much as a new program as it is a polished expansion of what was already there. They added more commands and those voice commands can now interact with other apps more easily. The voice recognition also seems improved, but I could be wrong since it was never a feature I used very much. The widget was also updated slightly. Really this is just one of many updates that have come with the release of 2.2 and the Droid 2.
  • by WilliamGeorge (816305) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @06:27PM (#33233780)

    With the search widget, which I assumed was built into Android itself, you can already do a myriad of similar tasks. I can call, pull up a contact, search, get directions, and more. I am *not* talking about Nuance, which Sprint also provides as their own app - I'm just talking about the generic search widget which takes either text or voice input. Is this new 'feature' just an improvement upon that, or is there some other nuance about the new service which I am missing?

  • Re:Please don'd die (Score:4, Informative)

    by Jesterboy (106813) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @06:29PM (#33233796)

    My most common command to my Google Nexus phone is: "Please (beeeeep) battery, do not die. It's been just 3 hours since I fully charged you." I hope that the next generation of Android will teach the phone to obey.

    You're exaggerating by quite a bit or you have a broken phone. I got ~30 hours on a single charge running stock Nexus One ROM. I am currently running Cyanogenmod 6.0-RC2, and after 8.5 hours of a few calls, a few Youtube/Flash videos and a whole lot of internet browsing I still have 71% charge left.

    Maybe you have the brightness cranked to the highest setting? Enabling Automatic Brightness (Settings->Display->Brightness in Cyanogen; probably the same in stock) will make the biggest difference in battery life. Although, even running it at the highest brightness setting, I've managed somewhere over 12 hours of time after a full charge.

  • Re:Yay (Score:2, Informative)

    by NotBornYesterday (1093817) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @06:54PM (#33233992) Journal
    Doesn't matter what the new features are. Verizon & friends will rip them out and replace them with pay-to-play versions.
  • Re:Please don'd die (Score:1, Informative)

    by pirot (894930) * on Thursday August 12, 2010 @07:01PM (#33234056)
    Yes, I am exaggerating. And yes, I actively using the phone, so it never lasts a full day. Not that many other smartphones last much longer. To whomever maked me as troll: understand the difference between humorous and serious comments.
  • Re:Yay (Score:3, Informative)

    by h4rr4r (612664) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @07:03PM (#33234070)

    They have not been doing that recently, all the android phones have google navigation instead of the verizon thing.

  • Re:Now, on to fixes (Score:3, Informative)

    by rotide (1015173) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @07:04PM (#33234084)

    Actually, for all the good Google has done on Android, one of my biggest pet peeves is something so simple, yet they haven't fixed it yet.

    Being able to move emails into folders through the mail app while using an exchange email server. This simple function basically neuters any real work email functionality. In their online tracker it is listed as a feature request and not a bug. Go figure.

  • Re:Please don'd die (Score:3, Informative)

    by h4rr4r (612664) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @07:15PM (#33234180)

    I use my droid all damn day, it gets charged over night. If I watched flash videos for maybe 3 hours that might do it. The GPS is a real killer though, I just plug it in when its in the car dock.

  • by sponga (739683) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @07:16PM (#33234188)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gGbYVvU0Z5s [youtube.com]
    I see they did at it for texting, I wish the summary would just have a link to the Youtube video as they describe everything in there. This is awesome because it truly means hands free, now I almost want to replace the camera button as a shortcut button for search as it would be convenient to get to everything. Some of the newer phones have a 'voice' button already built into the hardware interface.

    But this is brilliant "Send text to bill burgs lets meet outside the....", I wonder how this will hold up in court as 'hands free' while texting. But officer I wasn't texting I was voice texting. I wonder how bluetooth handsets will integrate with these features.

  • by sharkey (16670) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @08:03PM (#33234520)
    The Motorola Droid does "Voice Dialing", in that you select the voice dial app by hand, speak a command, then acknowledge any prompts by hand. It does not do hands free voice dialing (wired or bluetooth) in the manner that many phones have been doing for 5 years and more: Touch button on hands-free kit and interact totally by voice.
  • Re:Please don'd die (Score:4, Informative)

    by victorhooi (830021) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @08:07PM (#33234540)

    heya,

    Actually, I don't think he's necessarily lying, he just didn't give enough details on what exactly he's doing with it. No need for the Android fanboys to go lynch him because he insulted your dear Android...haha...

    I have a new Google Nexus One, and the battery life is appalling - I get maybe what, around eight hours, before it's down to the 15% warning? This is on automatic brightness, the occasional web surfing, some SMS-ing and light calls, and no wifi. Also, this is in the city, with nearly full reception (in low reception areas, I assume it boosts transmit power). I'm essentially permanently tethered to either the dock on my desk, or a handy power point *sigh*.

    My best friend also has one (we bought it together), and her battery life is similarly appalling, although slightly better since she turns the brightness down to minimum, and doesn't really make any calls.

    I love the phone, I just wish the battery life wasn't so abysmal.

    Cheers,
    Victor

  • by Namarrgon (105036) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @11:08PM (#33235534) Homepage

    Go to Settings / About phone / Battery use, and it'll show you exactly what's chewing up all your battery life.

    One of Android's best features.

  • by CNeb96 (60366) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @11:40PM (#33235654)

    This feature is really part of the upgrade to the bluetooth stack me thinks. Up until now, there was no way to do voice dialing with Android phones.

    No this feature always came with android 2.2 but most reviews didn't cover it for some reason.

    http://developer.android.com/sdk/android-2.2-highlights.html [android.com]

  • by SnowZero (92219) on Friday August 13, 2010 @03:40AM (#33236472)

    There can't be any harm in requiring Google to adhere to some clear rules (like letting you browse all the data they have from you, giving you full control over deletions, offer complete export options with common data formats and so on).

    Most of the data Google has on you that is indexed by your account is already available on the Google dashboard:
        https://www.google.com/dashboard/ [google.com]
    Some products are not yet supported (listed at the bottom). The Google Data Liberation Front is working toward making it complete:
        http://www.dataliberation.org/ [dataliberation.org]
    They are also working on safe methods of deletion (note that making this too easy allows account hijackers to hold data for ransom).

    Note that there are also google ad preferences which allow you to see and edit what the Google ad system thinks about you:
        http://www.google.com/ads/preferences/ [google.com]

  • Re:Please don'd die (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 13, 2010 @04:14AM (#33236550)

    It might be your 3G connection emptying your batteries: try Juicedefender, and app that handles your data connection and only turns it on for 1 minute in every 15 when you are not using the phone. This and its other features massively improve battery live.

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