Coffee with a Googler: Learn about Google Voice Actions

SEP 04, 2015

Posted by Laurence Moroney, Developer Advocate

Google Voice Actions let your users quickly complete tasks in your app using voice commands. It’s a great way to drive usage of your app, and now users’ voice action requests can lead directly from Search to your Android app. In this episode of Coffee With a Googler, Laurence meets with Sunil Vemuri, product manager of Google Voice Actions.

Sunil tells us about how the speech field has progressed, and how the quality of algorithms for detecting speech have drastically improved in a short space of time. In 2013, the average error rate for speech detection was 23 percent -- almost a quarter of all words weren’t recognized. By 2015, at Google I/O, we announced that the rate was down to 8 percent, and it continues to get better.

The episode will also share how developers can get started with building for voice actions using System Actions, where the voice action can be routed from Google Search directly to your app by declaring an intent to capture that action. If you need voice actions that aren’t in the system, you can also set Custom Actions. A developer can tell Google the phrases that they’d like to have triggered (e.g. ‘Ok Google, Turn on the Lights on MyApp’) and the Google app can then fire off the Intent that you specify. In addition, you can build Voice Interactions where your app can ask the user follow-up questions before performing an action. For example, when the user asks to play some music, the app could ask for the genre.

You can learn more about Voice Actions, how they work, and how to get started at the Google Developers site for Voice Actions.

If you have any questions for Laurence or Sunil, please leave them in the comments below.

If there are any guests, technologies, or anything Google that you’d like us to chat about over Coffee, please also drop us a line!