The latest version of Android 2.2, released Thursday, includes 10 new voice commands that can be used to operate phones without using a keypad. Google's new “Voice Actions” tool” enables people to dictate their text messages and e-mails. The voice recognition technology automatically translates the spoken words into text. Phone calls can be made simply by speaking the name of a person or business. The feature can also find and play songs with spoken commands.
Although spoken words were turned into written words almost flawlessly in a Thursday demonstration for reporters, many applications relying on voice recognition technology misinterpret what's being said in less quiet settings. Google says its tests showed Voice Actions was highly accurate. Android already has been processing spoken requests for Internet searches and directions. The feature has caught on quickly: Google says about 25 percent of its search traffic on Android phones is triggered by the spoken word.