October 17, 2011 | by Andrew Kameka
Evaluated version: 0.2.3
Android Voice Actions are nothing new. We’ve been telling our phone to search and change functions since last year, and apps like Vlingo have enhanced those functions even further. However, voice is all the rage now that Apple has introduced Siri, a voice search and command tool that not only provides hands-free navigation, but does it in an interactive way.
SpeaktoIt Assistant is a beta Android app that does some of the same ask-and-answer features as Siri. It’s a virtual assistant that listens to commands and takes action. There’s playful banter with your assistant named Sam, who will provide some canned responses if you say something dirty or ask her to marry you. And when you get serious to ask a question like “How many liters are in a gallon,” Sam will actually locate the answer and respond. Better yet, it can even provide an answer when told to convert 44 gallons into liters (166.56).
Beyond “searching” by voice, SpeaktoIt actually searches for answers and reads them back to the user. Someone asking about the capital of Canada will learn that it is Ottawa. Someone saying define “esoteric” will learn the meaning. On the occasion that the app cannot locate an answer on TrueKnowledge, Wikipedia, or other sources, it performs a Google search that users can browse. Sam, or whatever name you give to your customizable assistant, can perform a number of tasks. It can find a wedding planner or funeral home nearby by saying “Find…” or post a message to Facebook by saying, “Tell my friends…” (You can link to Foursquare, but checkin by voice is not very good at the moment.)
As for commands, SpeaktoIt still has ground to cover. It is excellent for being able to start song playback by searching for music, and users can dictate text or emails to send. I was surprised to learn that SpeaktoIt even supports searching Google Music to initiate playback. However, the app cannot toggle features like WiFi or Bluetooth, and the performance isn’t quite there for this to really take off. My virtual assistant says that it will be able to do that and more soon. For now, SpeaktoIt is a cool toy to play around with and do most of the things that you want. Just don’t say anything too mean or explicit; she’s “not that kind of assistant.”
Thank you RMReborn, Kyle, and everyone else who sent this in
Voice-based search or command for the following features
- Search for answers online and have them read aloud (or search Google)
- Calculate and perform conversions
- Send email or text
- Update Facebook, Twitter, or Foursquare
- Add memos/notes and calendar events
- Translate from English into limited languages