Google Voice is a nifty service that lets you carry out actions on your smartphone with just your voice. How does it work? You say to your phone, “OK Google,” and it starts listening to what you have to say. For example, you can say, “Play music,” and it will launch your music player app and start playing the tracks in your music collection. No hands involved. Sounds interesting? Let me share with you a few other things that you can do with it.
A Few Google Voice Activities
- Take a picture. Say, “OK Google. Take a picture,” and it launches the camera ready for you to snap away
- Record a video. Say, “OK Google. Record a video,” and launches the camera in video recording mode
- Post to Twitter. Say, “OK Google. Post to Twitter. “Hello guys. Its going to be a great day.” Then tell it to send the displayed text.
- Open webpages. For example, I go, “OK Google, open MobilityArena.com,” and it launches the browser and loads this blog.
- Compose and send messages E.g. via WhatsApp. Say, for example, “OK Google. Send WhatsApp message to dad. Hello dad. I hope you’re doing fine.” Dad has two numbers, so the app displays both and asks me which account I want to send to. I respond with “The first one.” It composes the message and displays it for me to see. When I say, “Send,” it sends it. Simple. No hands involved.
- Call a number. You can say, “OK Google. Call wife.” The app asks for which of her numbers I want to dial. I say, “The first,” and it dials her.
- Create Calendar appointments and reminders. Just say, “oK Google. Create appointment,” and follow the voice prompts.
If you do not wish to proceed with a command you have issued, just say, “Cancel.” The app cancels the action. If you need to modify a message or entry that you have dictated, just say, “Change.”
Google Voice has developed into a high level of accuracy. You do need to pronounce words right to get the best results. We told you your English classes would come in handy someday; didn’t we? The good thing is that you can change your search language in the Settings. Available Nigerian languages include: Yoruba (listed as Ede Yoruba), Hausa, Igbo, and Nigerian Pidgin. That has got a huge segment of Nigerians covered. Just pick which language works for you. There are scores of other languages available too.
Recognising Complex Names
Naturally, Google Voice isn’t great at recognising many non-American/European names, at least when using it in English mode as I do. A Yoruba name like Olutunfese sends it reeling. What can you do? You can modify such a contact by including an easy nickname in the name field. Then use that nickname when using Google Voice.
I remember in the case of my wife, the first time I used Google Voice to send a WhatsApp message to her, I said, “OK Google. Send WhatsApp message to my wife. The app asked me, “Who is your wife?” I gave her name and from that time, it remembers that Contact as my wife. Once I issue any command that involves the words “my wife”, it pulls up her Contact card. Nice.
When dictating a message, note or Calendar entry, Google Voice does not know where to put punctuation. To insert proper punctuation, you have to dictate this way, “How are you this morning [question mark] I hope you are fine [full stop]” The app types this command out as “How are you this morning? I hope you are fine.”
When Your Phone Is Locked
Also, Google Voice can be used from a locked screen. Just say “OK Google” and give your command. It will unlock the phone. However, if your phone has a password, PIN or pattern lock, Google Voice will tell you that you need to unlock your device for it to be able to carry out your commands.
Founder of MobilityArena. Yomi’s journey in mobile started in 2001. Besides obsessing over mobile phones, he also started creating WAP sites (early mobile-friendly websites created with WML). He began writing about phones in 2004 and has been at it since then. He has owned over 200 devices, from Symbian, Palm, PocketPC/Windows Mobile, BlackBerry/BB10, webOS, Windows Phone, Firefox, Ubuntu Touch, to Android, iOS, and KaiOS operating systems.