Using your Voice to Make Calls, Send Texts, Emails, & More (Video)

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We’ve already shown you how to use your voice to input text and how to search using your voice on your Android-powered phone. Both of these have introduced you to the basic voice-enabled functions of Android, but the most powerful thing you can do with your voice uses something called Voice Actions, which in turn, uses Android’s built-in “intents” engine.

To use Voice Actions you’ll need Android 2.2+, the Google Search, and the Voice Search apps. Both apps are available free in the Android Market.

We’ve put together a video that goes over some history, the prerequisites, offers some suggestions for how to get the best voice-recognition accuracy, then shows some practical examples of using Voice Actions. There’s a lot of material to cover, so the video is pretty detailed.

The “intents” engine which enables your phone to figure out what you mean based on some rough key-phrases. For example:

send text to (contact) (message) will attempt to send a text message to someone in your contacts list.

send email to (contact) (message) and go to are fairly self-explanatory.

listen to (artist/song/album) will look through your music sources (including Pandora) to play music matching your search parameters.

call (business) and call (contact) let you quickly call a business or contact in your contacts list. You can even specify what line you want to call them on (home, mobile, or work).

note to self (note) will start drafting an email to yourself. Hopefully this functionality will be integrated into note-taking apps like Evernote in the future.

navigate to (location/business name) will use your GPS navigation app (like Google Maps Navigation) to help you get from where you are to that location.

directions to (location/business name) and map of (location) do just that, providing you with directions to the location or showing you a map of the location.

There are probably more Voice Actions nestled deep inside Android that we don’t know about yet, so make sure you let us know what you’ve found and how you use Voice Actions with your Android-powered device in the comments below!

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About The Author
Joe Levi
Joe graduated from Weber State University with two degrees in Information Systems and Technologies. He has carried mobile devices with him for more than a decade, including Apple's Newton, Microsoft's Handheld and Palm Sized PCs, and is Pocketnow's "Android Guy".By day you'll find Joe coding web pages, tweaking for SEO, and leveraging social media to spread the word. By night you'll probably find him writing technology and "prepping" articles, as well as shooting video. Read more about Joe Levi here.