Android Voice Actions Now Play Well With Accents, EU Languages

Stateside Android fans have had over a year to put Google’s nifty Voice Actions for Android through its paces, and while it’s always technically been available to foreign users, it only ever officially supported American English. Thankfully for our friends in the EU, Google has just announced an update to their Voice Search application that adds support for a bevy of additional languages.

Though the update doesn’t seem to have gone live in the Market at time of writing, the update now lets users bark commands at their phones in British English, French, Italian, German and Spanish. The full list of voice actions is reproduced below, but the mechanics of the app remain the same: hold down the device’s search button, or tap the microphone icon in the Google Search bar widget. Be warned though: don’t expect to join in the fun unless your device runs Android 2.2 or later.

  • send text to [contact] [message]
  • call [business]
  • call [contact]
  • go to [website]
  • navigate to [location/business name]
  • directions to [location/business name]
  • map of [location]

Voice Actions was always uncannily good at interpreting input and transcribing messages, but now that it’s reached the world stage, I wonder how well it’ll do at working with dialectical nuances. It supports British English, for example, which encompasses a few neat dialects and accents — we’ll have to see if a Welsh accent or the warm Scottish brogue will throw Voice Actions for a loop. On the other hand, the new Voice Actions could be a novel way to help practice a foreign language: if your Spanish, Italian, or French pronunciation is good enough, Voice Actions should be able to accept your input, and you can give yourself a pat on the back.