voice Stories April 13, 2016

You can now use a Shaq voice in Waze to mark the 2016 NBA playoffs

Waze is known for adding special voices to its app to help you navigate while on the road, and the latest is the addition of Shaq’s voice to commemorate the 2016 NBA playoffs. This follows the Google-owned navigation app featuring the voice of Morgan Freeman in February to mark the release of London Has Fallen…

voice Stories March 22, 2016

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From adding regional accents to multiple male and female voices, Google has made great strides in making computers sound more natural. According to a video posted today on YouTube, a new voice rolling out to Google Now takes that a step further…

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voice Stories March 2, 2016

Google celebrates female YouTubers with two new programs

Today, Google announced ahead of International Women’s Day two new initiatives the company is using to “champion” female voices on YouTube. The first of which is a partnership with the United Nations that puts some female content creators in place to be “Change Ambassadors” for gender equality in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Action campaign, and the second is a “global production program” that puts women in front of and behind the camera at YouTube Spaces…

voice Stories January 28, 2016

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Google is now further localizing the voice in their apps for Australian users. The new accent will sound more familiar to those down under and be better able to pronounce place names and understand local colloquialisms for tasks and actions.

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voice Stories June 3, 2015

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SoundHound’s first app is known as one of the best offerings when it comes to recognizing sounds. You could hum a song and the app could, fairly reliably, tell you which one you were humming. Now, the same company has released a new app, called Hound, which attempts to usurp the Google Now throne with some really impressive voice assistant technology… expand full story

voice Stories March 31, 2015

It’s been a long time coming for voice calling in WhatsApp. The company decided on an extremely dragged out rollout of the much-anticipated feature, but now it appears that anyone using the latest version of WhatsApp for Android has access to calling as many friends as they would like…

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voice Stories December 5, 2014

Torque Search on Wear or Phone - Android Apps on Google Play 2014-12-05 11-20-25

A couple of months ago, Microsoft released a Bing-powered voice assistant app called Torque, and now the same app—which was previously only for Android Wear devices—can be activated at any time on your Android phone itself. The app works very similarly to Google’s own “OK Google” offering, but with a twist. Literally, you twist your wrist to activate the assistant rather than using your voice. But beyond that activation gesture, the app offers much the same information as OK Google, like weather updates, sports scores, information about nearby restaurants, stock prices, and more.

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voice Stories November 18, 2014

Buy stuff with your voice using new Amazon app for Android Wear

Amazon has today updated its Android app to support Lollipop, but with the update comes a very nice surprise. With the newest version of the app, you can use your Android Wear device to make search for products, make purchases, and save things to your Wish List.

The app will work for anyone who’s on Android 4.3 or later and also has an Android Wear device—all you have to do is say “Start Amazon.” To get the Android Wear counterpart, all you have to do is update the Amazon app. As mentioned, today’s update also packs Android 5.0 Lollipop support and the usual bug fixes.

Here’s the full changelog:

* Includes the Amazon app for Android Wear. Customers with Android 4.3 and above in the US with an Android Wear watch can use their voice to search, buy and save shopping ideas to their Wish List. Just say “Start Amazon” from your Wear watch.
* Android Lollipop support.
* Bug fixes and improvements.

voice Stories October 9, 2014

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Google this morning has unveiled a new Hangouts Chrome app for Windows and Chrome OS users. In a post on the official Chrome blog, the company described the app as a simpler and faster way to use Hangouts on your computer, while not intruding on other tasks and apps.

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voice Stories July 8, 2014

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If you’ve ever been using any form of Google voice recognition and gotten frustrated that the friendly female on the other side just can’t understand you, you may be happy to know that a quick command can now fix misheard words. Previously, you would have to start the query over completely, but the Google Search app can now fix its blunders on the fly using a natural corrective voice command.

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voice Stories June 16, 2014

Domino’s Pizza launches voice ordering in mobile apps powered by Nuance

Dominos announced today that its launching a new voice ordering feature in its iPhone and Android apps that is powered by Nuance’s Nina Mobile voice speech recognition, speech synthesis and natural language understanding technology. The company says the feature will provide “a human-like, conversational customer service experience that allows users to speak an order and quickly add items to their cart.” Imagine opening the app and placing your order by saying, for example, “I’d like a large pizza with extra cheese, pepperoni and onions” or “I’ll take a 14-piece order of Hot Wings”.

“There will be a day where typing on keyboards or with thumbs on mobile devices will come to a close; we want to be the ones who continue to advance the technology experience – hand-in-hand with our customers,” said Patrick Doyle, Domino’s Pizza president and CEO. “Our mobile app users who are a part of this launch are truly helping set the foundation for the innovations of today, that will soon enough become the standards of tomorrow.”

The platform, in partnership with Nuance, will redefine technology convenience – and puts Domino’s at the forefront of an intuitive ordering method that is a true first within both traditional and e-commerce retail.

With the updated app rolling out today, you’ll also be able to browse menus, coupons and navigate through the app using your voice. The feature rolls out in beta today and is available in the updated Domino’s Pizza app for iOS and Android now.

voice Stories April 25, 2014

Over the past few weeks we’ve seen rumor after rumor regarding new features for Android, as well as interface tweaks. And with Google I/O 2014 right around the corner, we don’t expect them to slow down at all. Android Police this evening published a new report detailing some more design changes coming to Android, as well as a new big feature.

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voice Stories March 18, 2014

Following confirmation from Google’s Sundar Pichai earlier this month that a Android SDK for wearables was on the way, Google has now officially announced Android’s entrance into wearables with project “Android Wear.” The Android Wear SDK allows developers to integrate a number of features into Android powered wearables and relies heavily on Google Now functionality, as we were first to report late last year.

Google also confirmed that it’s working with a handful of partners to bring Android Wear powered wearables to market by later this year:

Asus, HTC, LG, Motorola and Samsung; chip makers Broadcom, Imagination, Intel, Mediatek and Qualcomm; and fashion brands like the Fossil Group to bring you watches powered by Android Wear later this year.’

What can developers do with Android Wear? Google says the devices will be capable of displaying, for example, the latest posts and updates from social and messaging apps, answers via “OK Google” voice commands and Google Now-like functionality, as well as a number of fitness and health related data points. Google is also allowing Android Wear devices to talk with other devices like your phone or Chrome device through voice commands: expand full story

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We’ve heard that Google Voice is getting dragged to the trash can and most of its functionality will be incorporated into the G+ Hangouts apps on both Android and iOS. This has already happened to an extent with the ability to phone friends on Hangouts, but we’re hearing the full shuttering and depreciation of the app is the next step.

What’s interesting here is that VoIP-to-phones is expected to be integrated into the Hangouts iOS and Android apps so that, just like with the Web version, you could be able to actually make (and receive) VoIP calls directly from your Google phone number. Whether the carriers and Apple are okay with this isn’t certain, and the thought is that it could be enabled by carrier like Apple’s FaceTime (or could be scrapped altogether) depending on the global market and the carrier. expand full story

voice Stories November 26, 2013

Google announced today on Google+ that it’s releasing a new extension for Chrome that will enable hands-free activation of the voice search features it rolled out earlier this year. Google announced the conversational voice search features for Chrome back in May and has been updating it on various platforms since, but previously users had to actually click a microphone icon to activate voice search on the desktop.

Now, like on Android 4.4 devices and within the Google Now mobile apps, using the extension users will be able to simply say “OK Google” to initiate a search: expand full story

voice Stories October 9, 2013

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T-Mobile unveiled a new offering that will provide global data coverage allowing users to access their data plan in over 100 countries at no extra charge (via Engadget). CEO John Legere has been hinting at the announcement on his Twitter account in recent days: “Today is the day! The day we change the way the world uses their phones!”

This new plan will allow Simple Choice customers to get unlimited 2G data and texting in supported Simple Global countries. Voice calls on the plan cost $.20 per minute for in-country calls. There are no extra fees for this service, as it is included in all Simple Choice plans automatically.

The “un-carrier” also announced a few other changes to its plans, including a new international talk and text option from the US to all other Simple Global countries. That will cost an additional $10/month and include $.20/minute voice calls and unlimited texting. Adding this option to your plan will also enable unlimited calling to landlines in over 70 Simple Global countries for free.

Finally, T-Mobile announced that its 4G LTE network is available nationwide and reaches over 200 million potential customers.

voice Stories July 9, 2013

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When Google rolled out its new unified Hangouts messaging service, some users were disappointed that the new experience within Gmail removed the ability to place free calls within the US and Canada. Google previously confirmed that the feature would be returning and today it announced on its Gmail blog that it is rolling out the free calling feature to Gmail Hangouts and also adding some new features.

In addition to improvements to desktop calling, such as the ability to “add multiple phone numbers and video participants to the same call” and play sound effects, it is also making calls to the US and Canada free from any country with access to Hangouts. expand full story

voice Stories May 22, 2013

During its Google I/O keynote earlier this month, Google announced that it would be bringing conversational, Google-Now like voice search to the desktop. Using a UI similar to voice search and Google Now in its mobile apps, Google would soon allow Chrome users to search and drill down further into results using only their voice.

Today, Google appears to have finally started rolling out the feature for Chrome users on the stable and beta channels of Chrome.

Chrome-voice-search-02After updating to the latest version 27.0.1453.93 of Chrome, users can navigate to Google.com, click the microphone icon, and choose to allow the new Google Voice search feature to begin listening. Google will only ask for permission to listen once and from then on users can simply speak in order to search. For certain search results such as questions Google will also provide audible results.

Not all of the functionality seems to be available as of yet. For example, when Google first showed off the feature users weren’t required to click at all. Google execs were activating the feature by simply saying “Ok, Google” and were able to continue searching with their voice, hands-free, from on the search results page. The feature as it’s currently implemented now requires users to click the mic icon in order to start a voice search. expand full story

voice Stories May 20, 2013

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Some of you might have noticed that updating to Google’s new unified Hangouts chat service in Gmail meant giving up the Google Voice calling capabilities that were previously available to users in the US and Canada. We suspected Google had plans to bring the feature back and users currently have the option of reverting back to the old Gmail chat in order to access the feature. Now Google has responded to concerns by promising that “Hangouts is designed to be the future of Google Voice, and making/receiving phone calls” will return in a future update.

Google’s Nikhyl Singhal had this to say about Voice integration in Hangouts: expand full story

voice Stories May 15, 2013

Following its I/O keynote address today, Google just announced on its commerce blog that it will soon be integrating Google send_money-Google-wallet-GmailWallet features into Gmail to allow users to send and receive money. The feature will be available to those with a Google Wallet account and will initially be available to users 18 and older in the US:

Google Wallet is now integrated with Gmail, so you can quickly and securely send money to friends and family directly within Gmail — even if they don’t have a Gmail address. It’s free to send money if your bank account is linked to Google Wallet or using your Google Wallet balance, and low fees apply to send money using your linked credit or debit card.

Google will be adding a new $ icon next to the paperclip icon for attachements that will allow users to “attach money” to messages in Gmail by simply entering the amount and clicking send.

Google noted that the feature will first only be available on the desktop, but that users can also send money through wallet.google.com on mobile devices.

Look for the feature to start rolling out in the coming weeks but earlier access will be granted to those that receive money from others using the feature. You can learn more about sending money with Gmail here.

Google today announced today that Google’s new hangouts service/experience  would be available in Gmail:

What does this mean for your Gmail? You now have the option to switch from the current version of chat to Hangouts. Simply click “Try it out” next to your chat list to switch to Hangouts and give your chat an instant facelift (literally!). You’ll now see the profile photos in the order of your most recent conversations. With Hangouts, you’ll also be able to quickly send messages, have video calls with up to ten people at once, and share photos. You can start a conversation with just one friend or even a whole group.

Google today announced that it is revamping the Google voice search feature available in Chrome. While users have always been able to search with their voice through Chrome, Google is attempting to make the service work more like it does through Google Search apps and Google Now on mobile devices.

Chrome will now include “conversational search” with a brand new interface that doesn’t require users to click in order to search with their voice. Like on mobile devices with Google Now, users will now be able to simple say “Google” in order to activate voice search.

Today, we previewed what this conversational experience will look like in Chrome on your desktops and laptops. Soon, you’ll be able to just say, hands-free, “OK Google, will it be sunny in Santa Cruz this weekend?” and get a spoken answer. Then, you’ll be able to continue the conversation and just follow up with “how far is it from here?” if you care about the drive or “how about Monterey?” if you want to check weather somewhere else, and get Google to tell you the answer.

The new interface, as pictured above from Google’s demo of the feature, is much like the voice search interface for Google Now on Android devices.

While not a full blown Google Now experience yet, the feature will allow users to pull up flight information, email, calendar entries and more by taking advantage of Gmail field trial features that some users have already opted in to try.

The new feature will be coming to Macs and PCs through Chrome soon.

Google also briefly showed off some new content coming to Google Now including new cards for Reminders, Music Albums, TV Shows, Books, Public Transit, and Video games rolling out today: expand full story

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Some pretty incredible new features of Google+ Photos today that will probably be burying Picasa once and for all. Using their algorithms, they will enhance and help sort photos saving time and energy with the net result being incredible photo albums.

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Google today announced new features coming to the Google Play Developer Console that will make it easier for developers to track and optimize apps across markets.

Perhaps one of the biggest features that will soon be available to developers is the ability to manage beta testing and staged rollouts right from within the Developers Console. The tool will allow developers to select a percentage of users for a stage rollout and easily beta test their apps among small amounts of users.

Among the new features, Google will be rolling out a new APK translation feature built into the console that allows developers to purchase translations through various providers directly through the console.

Other features headed to the developer console include optimization tips, referral tracking, and detailed revenue graphs. Check out a full gallery of the new features below: expand full story

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We knew from leaks in the weeks leading up to I/O that Google was planning some gaming related announcements and today the company has officially announced the service in a press release ahead of its Google I/O keynote taking place now. Not only will the service allow Android developers to build in real-time multiplayer, social features, achievements, and leaderboards while storing game saves and settings in the cloud, the SDK for Google Play game services will also be available to iOS and web developers.

Google noted a few titles for Android have already been updated with the feature including World of Goo, Super Stickman Golf 2, Beach Buggy Blitz, Kingdom Rush, Eternity Warriors 2, and Osmos.

Not surprisingly, the cross-platform gaming service will also build in Google+ integration to track high scores, achievements and more:

-Achievements that increase engagement and promote different styles of play.

-Social and public leaderboards that seamlessly use Google+ circles to track high scores across friends and across the world.

-Cloud saves that provide a simple and streamlined storage API to store game saves and settings. Now players never have to replay Level 1 again.

-Real-time multiplayer for easy addition of cooperative or competitive game play on Android devices. Using G+ Circles a game can have up to 4 simultaneous friends or auto-matched players in a game session together with support for additional players coming soon.

Google’s full press release below: expand full story

voice Stories December 1, 2011

A nice addition to Hangouts with extras has been made available today over at plus.google.com/hangouts/extras, bringing with it the ability to place phone calls directly from within a hangout. Much like phone calls in Gmail, which recently got an international rollout, the feature will be available for free, initially to users in the US and Canada. Also, outgoing calls will come from your Google Voice number, if applicable. If you’re interested in trying it out, here’s how to do it: expand full story

voice Stories November 15, 2011

Google has updated Google Voice for Android to version 0.4.2 — a small update — but the app now features group texting, offline voicemail, and improved text message notifications.

Offline voicemail is definitely the big feature here, letting users listen to voicemail in spotty coverage areas. Now if there could be some improvements to the iOS app and MMS available on all carriers. Download it now!

What’s in this version:

  1. Prefetch voicemails so they can be listened to even when there is no data coverage
  2. Allow sending text messages to multiple recipients
  3. Improved text message notification
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voice Stories September 16, 2011

In addition to mapping and navigation, the ability to control your handset with voice commands is another treat that sets Android apart from the crowd, even if other phones had voice commands before Google’s software. Pity than that Android Voice Actions were introduced last year to the U.S. audience only.

Well, Android fans overseas can breathe a collective sigh of relieve because Google announced that Voice Actions are now available to users in the UK, France, Italy, Germany and Spain. Even better, non-English speakers are able to issue Voice Actions in British English, French, Italian, German and Spanish. There are three ways to invoking Voice Commands on your Android 2.2+ smartphone or tablet:

  • tap the microphone button on the Google search box on your home screen,
  • open the Voice Search app,
  • or press down for a few seconds on the physical search button on your phone to activate the “Speak Now” screen

Some of the supported Voice Actions: 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].

You can get a better idea about the usefulness of Voice Actions by spending less than two minutes of your time sitting through Google’s video tour embedded right above.

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voice Stories July 20, 2011

Google has released an update to their calling feature inside of Gmail, allowing users to make multiple calls. If you’re on a call and make another call, the current call will be put on hold and you can switch between the calls with the resume button. Even better, when getting an incoming call while on another you can put the current call on hold.

This new feature works on voice, video, and phone calls. If a call is placed to a physical phone number there can only be two calls at once. How long until you can conference calls and do everything else a phone can do?  Bye bye telephone!

voice Stories July 12, 2011

Wouldn’t it be great if you could report those pesky phone calls from marketeers as spam with a single click, just like you in Gmail? If you’re a Google Voice user, now you can because the search monster this morning flipped the switch on the new global spam filtering machine that sucks out unwanted calls before they hit your phone.

And if some go through, the new Report Spam button in the Google Voice interface is all you need to stop the pesky callers who wouldn’t take ‘no’ for an answer from wasting your time. You can also fine-tune the system by automatically redirecting calls, texts and voicemails from any of the numbers in Google’s database directly into their spam folders. To turn on spam filtering, tick the Global SPAM filtering box on the Calls tab of Google Voice settings.

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