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Google Introduces New Android Features 271

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,, 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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  • by stevew ( 4845 ) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @05:56PM (#33233530) Journal

    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. There was a problem in the bluetooth stack (as explained by a little birdie who lives at google to me some months ago.) Android 2.2 can now perform this action even though my old Samsung phone has had the feature for 2 years Plus..

  • Now, on to fixes (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anomalyx ( 1731404 ) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @06:19PM (#33233716)
    While Google tends to be better than others at prioritizing fixes vs enhancements, they seem to not be doing as well here.
    This achievement is certainly commendable, and congrats to Google on making an advanced voice command platform. But come on, I still can't set SMS or email reminders on my Google Calendar in the Calendar app! Or on the Google Calendar mobile site, for that matter!
    Sorry for picking on Calendar, but that's one thing that bugs me, because I use it all the time and have to either get on a computer or fumble around on the desktop site on my phone if I want to set my reminders.
    Oh yeah, battery life would be nice, too.
  • by joh ( 27088 ) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @06:57PM (#33234014)

    Is Googles just trying to gather more data on their servers by beaming your voice to their servers which send commands back then? Or is this really running on your phone's hardware?

  • by joh ( 27088 ) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @07:37PM (#33234340)

    It needs the 3g, turns the voice into some hash then does a lookup.

    So Google sees what you're saying and stores it on their servers hanging off your Google account? The same with every page or map you send from Chrome to your phone? Yeah, this is the same then as with everything Google does here.

    1) Throw people a nice sweet bait
    2) Get their personal data
    3) Profit!

    I will start to consider Android as soon as Google starts to transfer and store all personal data encrypted, with no way to read it or to link it up with other personal data of mine, except those data points I want to have linked up. Right, and give me a way to browse ALL data that gets stored off my phone at Google and a way to delete it if I want to. This would be the very least that should be required from them.

  • Re:apple (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Luckyo ( 1726890 ) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @08:31PM (#33234682)

    It's very long overdue considering that voice commands have been in the most basic, cheap ass nokia feature phones for years, not to even mention smartphone line.

    I'm quite surprised no one complained about lack of those before. I can't even imagine not being able to tell my phone to call someone on my contact list when it's in my pocket and bluetooth earpiece is in its place. It just seems so... last millenium.

  • by joh ( 27088 ) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @09:41PM (#33235050)

    Most people have incredibly, pathetically mundane lives and an over-inflated sense of how important they are - myself included. Seriously, we're not that interesting. As a data point, in an overall trend, we're probably useful to companies.

    But as some anonymous person over the internet. Get real.

    Yeah, there's very little to fear actually for the random individual, yet. It's the same as with some natives selling their lands to some foreign visitor for a handful of glass beads. What will he do, they think, take the land and carry it away? Want to have a few stones to go with it? lol, ha ha. Nice, shiny glassbeads! Give!

    So, if you're using Android with all the Google apps there's some place deep in a server farm where more and better data about your digital life is laying nicely prepared for analyzing it than you've got yourself, probably. It also shows to whom you connect, what you're searching for and about two thirds of all websites you visit. And all you've got from Google is "We're not evil!".

    With Google gathering more and more data from you they're also preparing a really nice monopoly. You can switch to any OS and device you like, as long as it has software supported by Google for their services. And of course right now they want to redefine net neutrality to keep the "Internet" neutral, except "additional services" (== Google apps) and the wireless net of course. -- "All these worlds, including your own, are ours, except these dusty moons of Mars, you can have those"

    And then: This is incredibly useful data also for governments. Knowledge is power and what Google piles up here is lots and lots of knowledge. I mean, your voice profile is *valuable* personal digital property. Your personal data is your land you live on in the dimension of intellectual property. Don't give it away for glass beads.

    Whatever. 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). Is this unreasonable?

    Mind you, I'm not saying what Google does should not be done. It's just progress, it's fascinating and it has as great a potential to change the world as the wheel or written language did. I just want to keep control over my part in it. It's mine after all.

VMS must die!