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Voice Dialer - Not really a voice dialer?

Discussion in 'Android Apps & Games' started by mjschmidt, Sep 28, 2009.

  1. mjschmidt

    mjschmidt Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    So my wife bought me a bluetooth headset (we have a hands free law starting in Ontario next month) and I finally got around to trying the default "Voice Dialer" app.

    Please correct me if I am wrong, but it seems like this isn't really a voice dialer. The app is _called_ voice dialer, but you can actually use it to search your phone for _anything_.

    When I try to use it to call someone, I say "Call Patricia". It pops up a box that asks if i want to call her work number or mobile number. At this point there doesn't seem to be any way to choose an option by _voice_, instead you have to actually press one of the options on screen.

    This is not very useful if you are trying to use the phone _hands free_ in the car.

    Is there an app that will let you call contacts without having to actually touch the phone screen? On my Motorola Razr, you "trained" the voice dialer to automatically call the number you wanted when you said a word/name. You didn't have to confirm anything on the screen, this way you could press the button on your bluetooth headset, say the name, and the phone would make the call.

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  2. happyally

    happyally Newbie

    That's strange, I thought that if you said "Call John Doe on mobile" it would do what you ask. But it doesn't seem that way...
  3. mjschmidt

    mjschmidt Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    Has anyone seen anything in the marketplace that would fix this? A voice dialer that lets you record a voice command (to dial a number) so you can actually use your android phone hands free?
  4. johirsh

    johirsh Member

    I have the Android 2.0 from VZW and have the same problem.. apparently google never thought we would use it as a phone.... I am trying to decide whether to send it back and get a real phone..
  5. DroidxRage

    DroidxRage Newbie

    One option / workaround, is to get the car mount, which has a car based GUI, and then you only have to touch the device twice... once to initiate the search and once to select the option you want.

    I realize it's not completely hands-free like you'd like, but its an option. Plus if your using the car dock, it's never really in your hands your just tapping it.

    Other than that, you may have to wait for/find a bluetooth headset that supports AVRCP bluetooth profile. Audio Video Remote Control allows BT devices to control other BT devices, so things like skipping tracks, launching applications, etc. Then your BT headset could at least launch the voice search application, although I'm not sure you could get around selecting the option off of the screen still.

    I agree though, software flaw, but nothing that can't be fixed in an update thankfully. :)
  6. mjschmidt

    mjschmidt Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    I have a dock to hold the phone in the car, and at present that is what I'm having to do. I press the button on my BT earpiece, say the name, and then I have to press on the screen. To make it easier, I have made direct call shortcuts to my wife and home on the main screen with Anycut, but I shouldn't have to do this.

    There is a really long thread about this as a bug report in the Google forums, but Google isn't saying anything about this. People need to let them know it needs to be fixed, especially since so many jurisdictions are making it the law.

    Issue 1181 - android - Feature Request: Voice confirmation for Voice Dialer - Project Hosting on Google Code
  7. johirsh

    johirsh Member

    Thanks guys for your input and ideas....and thanks for the above link.... everyone needs to go to that link .. choose the "back to list" and star it as an issue... google is essentially treating it as a non critical issue..
  8. DroidxRage

    DroidxRage Newbie

    Okay, I'm gonna have to kinda bust this one...

    I tried again today on the ride home, having got my mind worked up a bit about it, and here's what I found.

    Equipment: 222 Plantronics Bluetooth (BT) headset.

    Obviously pair the headset. Either press the MICROPHONE next to the google search widget, or preferably using the CAR HOME app that is included with the phone, press VOICE SEARCH from the dead center of the screen. This brings up the Google Voice Search (not voice dial).

    This is where the confusion lies I think. Google Voice Search isn't Voice Dial, the two are not interchangeable. This is not your typical "dumb-phone" voice dialing. For perspective when you think Google Voice Search... think Vista Search for your computer, but for your phone and controlled by voice. It's a lot more advanced than a simple voice dial in a normal phone, it will search everything in your phone from contacts to music, to email accounts and everything in between.

    So if we understand how Google Voice Search is different than a normal "dumb-phone", which all it does is voice dial (no searching anything really) then how do we control it to do what we want?

    Like other bluetooth devices, in order to invoke certain features you have to say the right commands. While this can pose a slight learning curve, once you understand it, you'll probably be praising your high heavens how useful it is because you can command so much more Here's some examples of what to say:

    "NAVIGATE TO pizza in Boston"
    "CALL mikey tommy (MOBILE / HOME / OFFICE)"
    "MAP OF gas stations"

    It's only when you speak clearly with a very slight pause between words. It's only when it doesn't understand you or the command that it gives you options to choose from on the screen.

    So, on the ride home today I tested calling to 5 people on my bluetooth, using both the CAR HOME menu and the VOICE SEARCH from the home screen, and as long as I used the correct commands and i spoke clearly enough for it to understand me, my calls went directly through to the correct person and I didn't have to physically press anything else.

    - If you have more than one number for a contact, you should specify MOBILE / HOME / OFFICE
    - Enunciate
    - Speak clearly
    - If the name is hard to pronounce, say it like it sounds instead. (My long last name has a silent Italian "I", when I pronounce it though it tends to pick up the name better)

    So I'm gonna tend to agree with Google on this one guys, this feature really does work. The only thing that really doesn't happen, is the bluetooth device invoking the voice dial application. You could attribute this as much to the BT headest as the phone really.

    And look at the obvious advantages due to this slight complexity (which c'mon guys, it's what you signed up for on this phone). This is just the tip of the iceburg with voice commands as I only listed 3 basic ones, but you can already see how helpful this can be once you know how to use it effectively. Find yourself low on gas and you can say 4 words and be saved, pretty amazing if you ask me.

    Bottom line IMO:
    The only thing you can't do with the headset is bring up the Google Voice Search app. If you have this in the CAR MOUNT on CAR HOME application, the button to invoke it is among only 4 others, and it's in the dead center of the screen, pretty easy to use IMO. And that's not any more distracting than changing the radio station if you really think about it. Probably less so seeing the car mount would be on your windshield, so you're really not even taking your eyes off the road.

    I'm here to help, ask away if you think I missed something. :)
  9. johirsh

    johirsh Member

    You must have a very special box there,,,

    Ok i tried as you suggest... lets try and make it simple

    call Voice Mail.. ok I get 8 alternatives ok and the one with a droid on the icon says :add numbet

    I am american google probably had the same people doing progtamming who do customer service so lets try numbers

    dial 609 XXX XXXX

    says dial found no documents matching dial 609 XXX XXXX

    sorry first of all this is not voice dial... my razr i pushed button said the same thing and it finds numebr and ask me (doesn't send me a note") if its right

    so ok google has a better idea.... google search.. sort of like vista, everthing else you did not want actually Voice "I should dial but I won't" does a more accurate job of fighting the number... you just have to "push to talk" thats about $150 in my state in my truck
  10. Dimitri

    Dimitri Lurker

    I'm actually really disappointed in that Car Dock mode voice search does not include the 'DIAL' command, only 'CALL soandso'. I tried to have my Droid dial from the nav home and it kept bringing me to the web results.

    When I used the 'voice dial' app, it dialed the phone number just fine. I think the OP is talking about how most bluetooth headsets allow you to press the call button on the device which launches the voice calling application on most phones. In this case, the bluetooth headset does nothing at all when the call button is pressed.
  11. DroidxRage

    DroidxRage Newbie

    First bold point, you can actually say "CALL 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9" and that works just the same. Might be why it didn't work for Johirsh if he was saying DIAL instead of CALL. (its all in the commands)

    Second - I certainly agree with that. Would be nice in a software fix, but for me it wouldn't be a deal breaker personally. I can see how some it might be.

    And no Johirsh, no special Droid. ;) :lol:

    Try saying "CALL <insert name from phone book> MOBILE" instead of voice mail. Try an easy name if you have one just to test, like JOE SMITH. ;)

    Voice mail may actually not work like that without setting it up as a contact... seriously.

    I can try to take a video or something with my GF's droid, but I'm telling you it really worked for me. I dunno if it was the headset, that's why I put that in there explicitly. It just dialed the contact I had spoke without me having to click anything additionally, one press to voice search. I'm not making it up or anything, like I said... just here to try and help.

  12. johirsh

    johirsh Member

    You appear to have a special BT and speical droid... from what Google/moto has stated , neither of the voice apps will respond to the mike for dialing at this time .. certaily mine (platronics) only engages when I manual dial

    The Google Voice Search finds no numbers.. just names and say"add number"

    The Voice Dial (yes I use call for a contact, one of which was voicemail, and dial for number) Dial a number seems more accurate but still wants a confirmation

    I do appreciate you sharing your experiences, but I can't repeat them, nor can hundreds of users on the google bug report forum....

    By going with the google OS Motorola has appeared to have lost one of its strongest features.. I do believe this is a s/w issue and plan to stick it out .. more because I like challenges and Andoid provides a bunch of those
  13. mjschmidt

    mjschmidt Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    Okay, I think I've found a "work-around" for the voice-dialer problem that will allow you to use it hands-free.

    In the marketplace, download TopVoiceControl - TopVoiceControl v1.3.0 Application for Android | Tools

    The first time you launch it, it will ask which voice dialer you want to be your default. Press the checkmark box for Make Default, and choose TopVoiceControl (you can change this back later by "clearing" the default in Settings > Applications > Manage Applications).

    Now, in Contacts, create some "speed dial" contacts with easy to say names you will remember, and which don't sound too much like other contacts names. I am playing with using "numbers" actually spelled out like "One" and "Two". For example, I created a contact called "One" with my wife's cell phone number and NO other information.

    Start TopVoiceControl (it will start up like voice dialer, waiting for you to say something). Press the menu button, this will bring up the settings for TopVoiceControl. Check the box next to "Act on single result".

    (Note: while you are in the settings you may also want to turn off text-to-speech, which is on by default, because to use this you need to download another app or package or something, and it will keep nagging you until you download it, or until you disable it in settings. I haven't tried it yet).

    Now, provided your voice "speed dial" contact name is a unique sounding name that is not too hard to pronounce, it should be the only result found when you say it, and TopVoiceControl will initiate the call right away.

    It is important to remember that you have to say "Call" before the contact name, or it will search for apps as well.

    I tested this using my Motorola BT ear piece and it worked well. It is important to speak loudly, clearly, and enunciate well so that TVC only finds the one result to call. Play around with names/words that sound very distinct from the other contacts and app names on your phone.
  14. johirsh

    johirsh Member

    I found Voice Dial HF. With this APP I have my phone doing hands free dialing liek my RAZR use to.. It ties into an app that allows you to tie in to your camera button, so you push the camera button and it prompts "say your command" it will ask yoi to confirm which you can do verbally, no hands,
    it works through my BT earpiece (no you can't activtate it from the earpiece that is a seperate droid issue) It also can activate other apps..

    Only draw back I have found is that it does this in a speaker phone mode.... supposedly developers are working on that

    for 3.99 my phone now works like my old RAZR with exception of ear piece.. Googe should pay the fee
  15. mjschmidt

    mjschmidt Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    @johirsh: I read about this app elsewhere (maybe a post by you?). Unfortunately not all users have access to paid apps yet (like in Canada!).

    I wish devs would realize this. A slightly gimped version of the app that only allows x number of voice commands would be better than nothing.

    Also, if you have to push the camera button, that's not really hands free. (also, not all phones have a camera button. I have a Magic. No camera button, the camera uses the trackball).

    The only drawback to my method is that pressing the BT button on my headset won't "wake" my phone. I either have to set the screen to stay on, or press the menu button twice before making my voice command.
  16. johirsh

    johirsh Member

    i was unaware that the dialing problem effected other phones..from googles attitude I thought I was a small one phone issue

    as far as hands free.. on my razr I had to push a button on my ear piece.. so button phone isn't much different to originate...the basic app does not assign the function to the camera ..there is a second free app that is recommended for this

    I know the BT issue is at least acknowledged as a bug... he voice dial is being viewed as an enhancement"

    hey maybe you can't get paid apps in canada but you have better beer
  17. gmermel

    gmermel Well-Known Member

    It ain't Canada, but close. The "best" beer is Alaskan Amber. I can understand the confusion....

    On-topic: I've been disappointed with the voice dial app. Rarely got the correct contact, let alone the right entry (mobile/home/etc). Sometimes got the wrong function.

    Just grabbed my phone, and using google voice as you suggested, gave a single try on a lunch break: Activated app, said "call wife mobile", her number came up in the display and the call went out withOUT requiring I press any further buttons.

    If it continues to function in this manner I'll be very pleased. Thanks for the advice.
  18. mjschmidt

    mjschmidt Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    @gmermel - When I've tried doing this with the default voice dialer it doesn't work, no matter how clearly I saw "Call wife on Mobile" it still asks me if I want to call her mobile, or her work number. I hadn't tried using the default app with a contact with only one phone number, only with TopVoiceControl.

    @Johirsh: I had the razr too, and could activate it from my BT headset. The difference is that we have a law now in Ontario requiring "handsfree" operation of our cellphones. While pressing one button on the BT earpiece might not seem to be different from pressing one button on the phone, it's a difference in the letter of the law. You're not supposed to touch your phone. :)
  19. jeremy1216

    jeremy1216 Newbie

    I use a WM phone before and was very happy with the Voice Command feature. Every command done via the voice and you even have the phone repeat your command to confirm. If not, you can say no and the system will interface for a new search. That's something the Android is far behind. However, I still like my Magic very much.
  20. gmermel

    gmermel Well-Known Member

    As I said, it was a quick try on a short break. On the way home, the phone did exactly as you described with another contact. Apparently it worked because wife's cell is all that is on her contact.

    Ohh, welll.

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