Life Could Be Easier - On the Go, Part 4

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Shortly after our September Life Could be Easier: Mobile Edition feature, Nancy Herther suggested that we investigate mobile apps with voice recognition capabilities. She also pointed out several apps to get us started. Days later, Apple announced the iPhone 4S, which features the greatly enhanced (and now Apple-owned) Siri app.

Siri's getting a lot of press right now, but it's not the only app out there that responds to your voice. Here are a few choices that support everything from web searching to more "personal assistant" functions:

Dragon Mobile Apps: iPhone and Blackberry
Nuance's Dragon Naturally Speaking speech recognition software has been available on desktops for almost 15 years. Nuance also markets several apps for iPhone and iPad that take advantage of the Dragon engine: Dragon Dictation allows you to send emails and texts or update Facebook. Dragon Search provides a voice interface for online search. And the recently released Dragon Go brings Siri-like functionality to earlier model iPhones and iPads. Nuance also throws a bone to Blackberry users, with Dragon for E-Mail.

Workflow example: Jerilyn Veldof reports that she records her thoughts following meetings using Dragon Dictation and sends the text straight to Evernote.

Google Search: Android, iPhone, Blackberry, and Nokia S60
Google Search provides voice access for general web searching.

Google Voice Actions: Android
Clearly, Voice Actions is the application that Siri leapfrogged over. With Voice Actions, you can send emails and texts, call contacts, get directions, play music by asking for a song title, artist, or album, and do general web searches.

Bing Apps: Android, iPhone, Blackberry, Nokia, and Windows Mobile
If you're looking for an alternative to the Google world, the mobile version of the Bing website works great. It provides quick access to location-based deals, movies, news, and more. Although the mobile site doesn't support voice search, you can download a Bing app for that does. I had a little trouble finding the right app at first; at least for Android, Verizon phones require the Bing on VZW app instead.

Vlingo: Android, iPhone, Blackberry, Nokia, and Windows Mobile
Like Siri, Vlingo focuses on keeping your hands free and translating what you say into the appropriate action. Lifehacker selected Vlingo as the closest thing Android users have to Siri of the apps in the field; the linked Lifehacker post profiles several other personal assistant options for Android.

Jeannie for Android
If you're looking for something with a little more personality, check out Jeannie. I haven't tried this one yet, but the video on its Android Market page is intriguing. There's even a kid-friendly version.

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This page contains a single entry by Jan Fransen published on November 2, 2011 11:24 AM.

Life Could Be Easier - On the Go, Part 3 was the previous entry in this blog.

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