How Often Do You Use Android’s Voice Actions? [Poll]


With today’s announcement of the already outdated iPhone 4S (har-har), I got to thinking about their “revolutionary” new voice recognition service, Siri. Seems Apple-fanboys everywhere think it’s the bee’s knees, believing it could change the way users interact with their smartphones forever. Well, there’s just one thing — Android has featured voice actions for a little over a year now and it ain’t all that.

As cool as voice commands sound, in my personal experience, I’ve found that speaking to your phone to send a text, or perform a Google search never seemed all that more efficient then quickly swiping to your app and typing out some quick text. Sure it’s fun to occasionally whip it out in front of people but aside from showing off — it rarely gets used. And yes, I understand how valuable voice commands can be while driving but after sending a text message to my pastor that I rape small animals, I decided texts while driving can wait. Even the voice kind.

So, out of pure curiosity I wanted to hear from our readers. As spoiled Android users with all the latest features Apple is trying to catch up to, how often do you find yourself actually using the voice search/commands on your smartphone? Is this as big a deal as Apple is making it out to be? Maybe you would use it more if it was better implemented like Siri? I wont make this too complicated and will separate it into only a few categories. Don’t be shy everyone and let’s get to voting!

[polldaddy poll=5558147]

Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. Only when I’m driving

      1. Me three.

        1. me four

  2. Rarely? Never? Put a launcher for it on your home screen. “Listen to Can’t Keep Johnny Down”.

    1. Even better, if your phone has a search button, just hold it down and it should launch the voice commands.

    2. I actually have it set as my double-tap home function.

  3. If you live in a city it’s just awkward when you’re in public, though there are times it would be easier to dictate a text message when i’m walking down the street

  4. You know that Apples taking a beating when they are adding features like voice actions. Its a nice to have rarely used feature. Its not a deal maker.

    1. Except that Apple is *not* adding “voice actions”. Know what you’re dissing before you diss…

      1. Hey part of siri is completing actions based on the information given by your voice. So, in short siri includes voice actions. So how about being superficial with other posters.

    2. LOL! Ya because android hardly ever adds features and per usual android phanboys instantly hate any features that apple adopts that android already has

      1. “per usual”? Seriously?

        When you wrote this, was your pinky finger in the air as you delicately sipped tea from your bohemian, hippy “oh my god why don’t we matter anymore” styled tea cup?

        Or was it water from the yuppie “Why don’t you have a louis vuitton styled heater? It’s cold in my 300 sq foot apartment” sports bottle?

        Or maybe it was while you were drinking coffee from the “Who says you can’t wear all black all time along with a French beret? Now watch me beat these drums and sing bad poetry” Beatnik coffee cup?

        I mean wouldn’t “as usual” have done the trick?

        1. Let go of the pain and let the healing begin. That bad man and his evil phone won’t hurt you any more.

      2. Well, Android simply had most of these features already at launch, where as Apple keeps playing catch up.

        The last two iPhone releases saw the iPhone add, a camera flash, notifications app, voice integration, and more.

        It seems like every new iPhone announced is adding features already on Android devices and simply playing catch up.

        Sorry if we always bash and make fun of Apple for being slow but they really are.

        Apple found their cash cow when they released the first iPhone and they have been trying to keep it alive ever since instead of truly trying to be innovative and bring out another piece of technology that will change the way we think.

        Why not have a second model with a bigger screen and slightly different features, why only one model of the iPhone. Do they not want to sell more phone?

        All the while on Android I can view flash videos in my browser and Apple can’t even bring such a feature to the table in 5 year span. Yea, Apple is behind!

  5. Voice Action ‘Set alarm’ is my favorite, EVO 3D.

    1. I use that all the time for my afternoon nap.

    2. I didn’t even know you could do that! :O

      1. how do you do that on the EVO 3D????

      2. Press the voice action thing and instead of saying an action when the thing pops up tap “Help” and it gives you a ton of different commands

    3. I used to use that all the time on my OG Droid, but then for the Droid 3, Motorola changed the default clock APK or something and the command doesn’t work with it anymore. It tells me I must “download a clock application that supports this feature”. Sigh.

      1. So download the clock

  6. Poor CrApple and the iPhlop

    1. You should take an inanimate object like a cell phone a little more personal.

  7. I don’t use it a ton, but a decent amount… maybe a few times a week.
    The big thing about Siri seems to be weather and appointments. I can already say ‘weather’ and it’ll just do a search, which tells me the exact same thing, and I don’t have that many appointments… I guess a natural language approach is nice, but only if it works.

  8. Using it to find and call local places is pure awesome. the calling contacts seems to be flawed though, as it usually doesn’t find my contacts easily. Also the set alarm is the only way i set my alarm

  9. Oh Chris! I knew you must have wrote this article when I read the line about raping small animals! :D

  10. The new Samsung epic 4g touch has voice software from vlingo on it, and it works pretty well. I have found myself using it a lot more often than I thought I would.

  11. For me it’s rarely, AND only while driving. Maybe once a month or so?

  12. “Sure it’s fun to occasionally whip it out in front of people but aside from showing off — it rarely gets used”


    1. We are talking about voice commands right.

    2. its just something nice to have like 3d or a 16 megapixel camera

      1. Actually, this feature is almost a must for those with visual impairments (not totally blind). For some people it’s a lot more than just something “nice” to have.

        1. well “excuse” me. why dont we all just use “quotation” marks. to be “dramatic.”

  13. best is “Timer 10 minutes”…. use that dozens of times a week, egg-timer style

    1. I did not even know you could do that. Thats awesome. I love android more and more every day. I use the voice search and voice navigation all the time. Where can I find a list of the features that are available via search?

    2. oh wow. nice! never knew that command. thanks

    3. And my voice command use just went from rarely to Frequently thanks to blue! Awesome tip!

    4. Ur super-welcome, thanks guys

    5. And set alrarm for…

  14. I don’t send texts using voice (if you’re going to speak a text message, wouldn’t you just be better off calling that person?), but I frequently use the voice commands to enter addresses and do searches. Its nice to be able to just say “Navigate to” and then the address instead of typing it out.

  15. I use it several times a day and find it much easier to use it does not matter if I am walking or driving. As you use it more you learn it’s quirks and can adjust. Remember even Apples is not going to be as smooth as their shows out of the box either.

  16. I only use it for navigation that’s it other then that I go out ov my way to use a keyboard that gives me the option to remove it. Funny you say that Chris on engadget some said the birth of skynet I was blown away cause are you serious Android been there we have it. But as i say nothing impressive at all Apple drop the lawsuits and put it into R&D I don’t see no innovation at all

  17. I use it quite a bit to—
    – “Listen to xxx” while in the car (listen to music on Pandora)
    – Call or Text family members – works surprisingly well, particularly if you know enough to sound out the punctuation. “We have lots of time to kill comma Grandma!”
    – Occasionally use it to text GVENT (Google’s SMS interface to calendar). “Orthodontist appointment 10am Thursday”
    – “Set alarm for 2pm” for a nap.

    1. Wait- why are you planning your grandmother’s death? O.o

      1. How did you miss the comma?

        1. Well that changes everything…

          1. ….Again?

  18. Only when I’m driving, or when I’m doing my work on the computer.

  19. If it ever worked right and wasn’t so damn slow id use it all the time… As it is now almost never. When I do it never does what I want or just doesn’t start listening til I’m half way through whatever I’m saying.

  20. I think its a great feature but I hardly use it. I prefer my swype keyboard over anything.

  21. I use it for navigation all the time. “Navigate to . . .” I just tried the timer & alarm thing, but they didn’t work on my Incredible. :( I use the built in alarms and count down timers all the time for waking up, remembering to change out a load of laundry, naps etc. hahaha That would definitely be cool if I could do them by voice command.

    I used it once for texting while driving (even thought that’s illegal here.) It was alright. Worked better than expected. But it can be finicky – especially in a car with the windows down. Gotta roll all the windows up and shut off the radio. Probably not something I’d bother with again. Like someone else said, you might as well just call at that point.

  22. Lol I love this article, its great that’s why I live Phandroid. I would poop my pants if I sent a message saying I rape small animals.

  23. @Atg284 Are you being serious.

  24. That appointment one didn’t seem to work for me, anyone know what the command it?

    And with Apple’s it seems alittle weird…It’s like you can have a conversation with her. It’s cool don’t get me wrong and it honestly is furthur ahead of Androids….just seems creepy lol (Forever Alone Face)

  25. Whoever said set alarm YOU F’N rock didn’t know we could do that, thank you so much lol.

  26. I never use it, mainly because it doesn’t like my accent. My accent is “too Arabic” to be acceptable i guess.

  27. The map of voice command is handy. If I drive to a new city and want to find all the walmarts or dunkin donuts in the area I can say “map of walmart in wherever” and i can navigate to or call any one of them

  28. Siri’s your friend when you have no real friends

  29. 7x/month at least, when driving. I’d use voice dialing a lot more, but it appears that Google won’t let it work with Exchange contacts.

    If Siri works half as well as Apple says it does, my wife will move to iOS. If it works 70% as well, and if the mythical Nexus Prime comes crippled by Verizon, I’ll think harder about moving, too.

  30. Considering sections of my screen do not respond to touch, I can’t text, type, or dial numbers. Androids Voice feature is great, and without it I would of broken my contract with sprint. Once I feel a hundred dollar deposit is able to fit into my budget ill get it fixed, but until than, i’ma keep talkin to my phone.

  31. Lol i never used voice actions on my android phone. Ill give it a try now :P

  32. 2 way voice control so that I don’t ever have to touch the screen would be very cool. IF it could be pulled off. If it’s seamless or allows a 2 way verification process for what your trying to do this could be big. For example,
    ME: “TEXT Grandma What time do you want to be picked up”
    ANDROID: “Do you want to send Grandma text saying “What time do you want to be picked up”
    ME: “YES”
    ANDROID: Sending Text.

    ANDROID: Received Text from Grandma. Do you want to read text
    ME: “YES”
    ANDROID: GRANDMA texted “Pick me up at 3 pm”

    This would be cool but to be real cool it would need to apply to more applications like Youtube. Imagine it being smart enough to hear the word pause and stop playing and the word play and start. Or imagine listening to music and it being like listening to music with a friend.

    Me: Play AC/DC Hells Bells
    Music app: Say yes when I read what you meant. Listen to AC/DC Hells Bells, Search internet for AC/DC Hells Bells, etc.
    Me: YES
    ANDROID: Would you like me to play only Hells Bells.
    ME: No
    ANDROID: Would you like to hear Hells Bells and then other AC/DC Music.
    ME: No
    ANDROID: Would you like to hear Hells Bells and then play AC/DC and other bands songs.
    ME: Yes

    This really could change the way we interface. Well my hells bells song ended so I must now go back and tell my gtab 10.1 to listen to ac/dc so I can get more music going. Multi-touch is on it’s way out.

    1. Uhh

      Have you tried using Voice search to send texts? It works exactly like you want to.

      “Send text to Wife Hey can you make me some dinner questionmark I’ll be home late tonight comma thanks”

      Works like a charm.

      1. It works great except to send it I have to touch the screen. Give me a verbal confirmation and send it. So it’s really only a voice command with a follow up confirmation as touch. If I’m wrong let me know maybe there’s a setting I’m missing. I am using the nexus s so sense or touchwiz might do the trick.

  33. “With today’s announcement of the already outdated iPhone 4S” – how is it outdated? it has a dual core cpu just like some android phones do, display is just as good as samoled even +, 8MP just like most androids, features are on par

    1. Because the Nexus Prime is already in production and is outclassing it.

      1. how is it outclassing, besides the rumored HD display and NFC

        1. LTE, and clearly Ice Cream Sandwich will have feature improvements. I still think the biggest thing lacking in the iPhone is the complete lack of hardware choice. Newsflash Apple, not everyone wants a small screen, and some people want a physical keyboard. People like choices!

    2. Not the best thread for this, but dual core 1 ghz is good but when they are starting to put 1.2+ in phones its hard anything revolutionary. And a again th camera if it wasn’t anything high it would be a shame. The retina display is great 326 ppi awesome. screen real estate not so great. where as the high end android devices is 4+.(they can have the ppi race ill take a 4.6″ prime with 720p) the iphone solid device, my fingers are too big to us the 3.5″ screen more is better. my gf has galaxy s epic and my sister has the the iphone 4g ill gladly take the epic and the screen size and type is the biggest reason. My opinion

    3. Maybe it was a joke? I dont think its outdated….and I dont even like or want the iPhone.

  34. I use it sparingly but it does cone in handy. What alarm clocks in the market support voice commands?

  35. Omg the small animals comment..lmfao! Hilarious

  36. I think I’ve used it, maybe a few times. Seems pointless. Plus, I’m usually around other people and I can’t think of very many things you can do on your phone in front of others that makes you look like more of an idiot than sitting there giving your phone commands to send a text or something.

  37. One word … Vlingo.

  38. Wow. My voice commands work fine concerning text messages. I tend to use it while I’m at home. (I don’t want the whole outside world to know my business.) Driving- it’s a definite requirement. “Nearest gas station”, along with “Starbucks” and “FOOD” are used often.

    1. I don’t know, but when I’m in text and the Swype keyboard is up, the voice to text does not seem as accurate as when the native Android keyboard is active. I’ve used voice dialing once or twice. But I don’t call much anyway.

  39. I think it’s the “Bee’s Knees” and I’m an Android fan. Siri seems to be a bit better than Android’s voice actions. It’s one step closer to artificial intelligence. I’m anxious to test it out. Other than that I was a little disappointed by the 4s.

  40. Sirius is actually behind Google it only works in US English. It’s nit included on any iPhone outside if the US not even in Canada Apple Canada website doesn’t even mention this feature. I’m in Canada using voice on my Nexus One for over a year my dad uses it on his Galaxy S2 in German. So Sirius is great but not that wide spread.

    1. It’s Siri.

      It’s availlable in English, French and German for the moment.

      I had to wait for a long time before Google’s ‘Voice Actions’ was available in French (a couple of month ago).

  41. Kinda shocked at the numbers who haven’t used this. I seriously consider this to be ‘the’ feature of the phone. Every text message, email, gps-navigation, song, alarm clock and timer, math equation with long series of numbers or steps so no need to type it all in, when stating something like ‘call Loews’ while standing in the parking lot of one, it figures out this is the Loews you want with such certainty that it auto-dials that store’s number without even asking, and language translation that actually works..! The accuracy has been shocking, especially considering how bad every other speech recognition experience has been. I can’t imagine not saying ‘navigate to whatever’ and trying to type it. I hardly ever use the keyboard for anything, and it really is SO much faster. Anyway, I just don’t get how so many in this poll from a tech website no less aren’t seeing the profound capability booster this has been.

  42. I use Voice Actions and Speech to Text all the time. Awesome when you only have one hand open to use your phone.

  43. Dude, I do not understand the 4s. It’s so focused on this shit, but NO ONE CARES. Why do I want a $600 device that has a beautiful retina display if I’m going to talk to it instead of touch and look at it?

    1. So you don’t notice it’s weaknesses.

  44. I’d use it for texting more, but I’d have to stop and switch keyboards, because much as I like Swype (beta), its voice recognition sucks compared to native Android. At least it does on my phone, but that could be because it is comparatively ancient.

  45. I love my android. But I couldn’t help but be impressed by siri. It’s deep integration just lets it work seamlessly with the OS. Android voice actions work great, but it’s more about transcribing than understanding the context of what you’re saying. That’s what I was truly impressed by. I would use Google voice search A LOT more if it worked liked Siri. Don’t hate me, I’m just being honest.

    1. Having used an iPhone’s voice dialer, I can add that the voice dialing on the iPhone is much better (better recognition, faster response time, smoother voice talking to you) than Androids. I think voice commands and camera are the two things the iPhone does better than Android.

      1. the camera has nothing to do with android, it has to do with the supplier. not everything wrong on an android phones is from android.

    2. The preinstalled Vlingo on my Samsung GSII works great! Its very intuitive allowing you to post social network updates like facebook, play music, text, email, navigation, search, etc. It even has a voice assistant. I believe you can download it on the market.

  46. Never understands my accent :(

  47. Maybe Phandroid should do a comparison video of Google Search, Vlingo, Edwin and Voice Actions (not Google) apps to see which one works the best/has the best features.

  48. I have been trying out the voice assistant on the new gs2 and I never used voice command before but it actually works pretty good

  49. To be honest Apple’s Siri looks like voice interaction. Not just voice action. It looks pretty impressive.

    1. Siri is a gimmick Apple needed in order to actually sell the phone.

      1. Apple doesn’t need a gimmick. People buy iPads made of wood. Siri is a viable feature that they put in action to compete. They needed to add it to compete with the same feature on Android. They couldn’t add the feature until they made it “perfect”. It is better than Android’s option. How much better is subjective, but it is at least marginally better. It’s intelligent.

  50. How do we know how Siri performs? None of us have used it.

  51. I like to use “Navigate to…” when I’m in a hurry, it saves me having to look something up and click on the screen a few times, but honestly that’s about it. I feel really weird talking to my cellphone in public, so I avoid that as much as possible :)

  52. I use it often for calls, sending short text messages. It really work well in these 2 departments.

  53. I use it all the time, except to send emails. When compose an email with voice actions, it always force closes as soon as I hit send. SMS via voice actions works everytime. It may just be my model of phone (T-Mobile G2X). Has anyone else experienced this??

  54. I freaking LOVE it. I use it quite a bit to respond to send text messages while driving (“send text message to mom I’m on my way”), but my favorite use is easily calling phone numbers that aren’t in my phone book (“call aria in las vegas”). I can’t believe people don’t use it more often.


    I think voice could learn a thing or 2 from the logic idea.

  56. Thanks to this article….I will be using voice actions to set my alarms now.

  57. Wow! Until now, I’ve only occasionally used the Voice Search. After reading all of these comments, I’ve picked up quite a few tips. So, I plan to use the feature much more starting now. Thanks Chris for writing this article and getting the discussion started.

  58. Genius Button on MyTouch!

  59. Im shocked to see people hit rarely? Ive found that most people ive asked didnt know how to use it, some didnt know the hotkey for it either…. weird.

  60. I use it the most for navagate to: pizza hut or map of: best buy, play: linkin park or the best one a spell check when i dont know how to spell a word. Someone else said make calls; love that too.

  61. It is just another gimmick that the iCult will go crazy over. Will it be better than Androids voice commands? Oh yes. Very much so. But will it be used any more than Android users? Nope. It will be cool for the first month that people have their new (if you consider the 4s a new phone….) iPhone then it will be lost… just like facetime.

    1. I use facetime a lot. I don’t even have an iOS device.

  62. I use it a bit. Mostly when I want to do a quick (relatively speaking on my Eris) google search that is faster to say than type like “IMDB Star Trek Next Generation Cause and Effect episode.”

    I also use it when using google maps for finding places close by. Like “theaters” or brazilian restaurants.”

  63. my only thing, is that siri is intelligent, you can say to siri, when is my wifes birthday, and it would tell you, not even vlingo can do that

  64. I use this app a *lot*. My eyesight isn’t so great, and being able to “speak” for texting and searches online is totally awesome.

  65. Its mostly just nice to have them there….especially when you want to show off your cool android phone :)

  66. Not sure others have noticed this, but sometimes I have to use “voice dialer” in conjunction with “voice actions”.

    If I want to open applications (ex. calendar) I have to use voice dailer. Once the application is open then I can use the voice commands.

    It would be nice if both applications features could be integrated into a better “google/android voice search” applications.

    I’m using an EVO 4G and cannot set alarms

  67. I use it every chance i get, texting, search, updating everything. Why not? What?

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