A few months ago I wrote "Stock Android Isn't Perfect," an article where I turned my usual harsh UX critique on stock Android, instead of just picking on TouchWiz and Sense all the time in my reviews. The article went over pretty well, and even got a few responses from Googlers! I didn't cover everything that was wrong with Android, though, and there have been a bunch of updates since the original article, so it's about time I wrote a sequel.
This is why it's great that Google unbundles core apps from the OS. While it might take a considerable amount of time before the newest version of Jelly Bean rolls out to your device, current Android 4.1 users can upgrade Google Search right now and get access to the latest improvements to Google Now. The list of fun new features includes additional cards (like Stocks, News, Concerts, and Packages), as well as voice actions, including the glorious ability to add events to your calendar with via speech.
For years Nuance's Dragon served as a leader in the world of voice dictation and commands. More recently, though, as Google and Apple move in on the speech control world, the company has a more pressing need than ever to distinguish itself. Enter Dragon Mobile Assistant. This app aims to "expands the natural language understanding and artificial intelligence" of Dragon Go! and "[add] the most popular personal assistant features."
At this point, most of our readers are probably aware of how voice assistants work.
I make no bones of the fact that I find 3rd party voice assistants to be increasingly redundant, especially with the arrival of Google Now on Jelly Bean.
But Google Now doesn't do certain things. One of those things has annoyed me since the early days of Google's Voice Actions: you can't make calendar events through voice input. And as a person that absolute despises digital calendars, this is something of a "must have" feature.
We non-Jelly Bean plebeians have been envious of those with access to Android 4.1 for some time now, and a recent video from JLishere provides yet another reason to be jealous. The video, a demo of the much-anticipated Google Now, shows off just how accurate JB's voice recognition can be - in fact, it was able to pick up on the subtle differences between words like 'Worcester' and 'Wooster.' It also exemplifies the impressive number of commands Now (in cooperation with the Knowledge Graph) can register - from "call the Drake Hotel" to "do a barrel roll."
Enough balderdash, though - watch the 47-question demo for yourself:
Update: 20 more questions:
One last note: as JLishere notes in the video description, the demo was performed on an early build of Jelly Bean - this, in other words, should be considered a beta feature that will only get better with time.
You guys remember Voice Search right? That app that every Android user ever has installed on their phone or tablet? Well, the Wall Street Journal, best known for being right about a good number of things, is reporting that Google has "accelerated plans" to launch a "Siri competitor." Our super secret sources tell us that Google will "launch" this competitor in August, 2010.
The WSJ doesn't have much more information beyond that:
Google I/O is coming and it's time to get excited! It's like Christmas in June! It will be here in just a few
short agonizing weeks - and we need to prepare. There is background information you need to know, rumors you should have in mind, and past announcements and acquisitions that need to be remembered. Google always leaves little news breadcrumbs for those that pay attention, and I pay attention.
You could continue to add events to your Google Calendar the old fashioned way, or you could use this super cool (and fun!) method of SMSing things to your GCal.
The process is so easy a caveman could do it, so follow along and you'll be one step closer to speaking (almost) directly to your calendar:
- Add GEvent (48368) to your contacts, name it “Magic Calendar”
- Click and hold the Search button to bring up Google Voice Search and say, “Text to Magic Calendar, Pick up kids 2pm at the Cliffs in Valhalla, New York” (or, you know, whatever event you want to schedule)
- Wait a bit… you should receive a confirmation text and it should show up on your Google Calendar
- Bring up event in your favorite calendar app or widget… click on the link for the location
- Click on bubble to check out Places and to get turn-by-turn directions from your free Google Navigation
- Extra credit – do the step #2 voice search hands-free using VLingo InCar
And that's it.
Today’s Google Mobile even certainly did not disappoint. In addition to some minor improvements in Google Search, such as the ability to call businesses and play music from the web, Google introduced Voice Actions, a huge update to Android’s Voice Search application.
The video below demonstrates all the capabilities of the new application. If you’ve used Google’s speech-to-text functions before, you’ll know how well they work, and Voice Actions simply expands on that in a very powerful way.