Google today announced the availability of two features exclusive to Android 2.2 (FroYo): Voice Actions and Chrome-to-Phone.
Voice Actions is an app that vastly expands Android’s speech-to-text functionality, and Chrome to Phone is a Chrome extension and Android app pairing that lets the user forward content in Chrome to his Android device. This was first shown off at Google I/O last May as a part of the 10 improvements in Android 2.2 and has been available on Google Code since July.
Android’s Google Search widget received a voice recognition tool in the very early RC33 update before Android 1.2 was released, and the functionality was extended into Google Maps several months later, but the platform relied upon third party apps for things like speech-to-SMS or speech-to-E-mail.
With Voice Actions, users now have about a dozen more commands that they can activate from the Google Search widget, including sending texts, listening to songs on Pandora, Last.fm, mSpot, and Rdio, calling contacts or businesses by name, navigating to website or real-world locations, making notes, or pulling up maps and directions.
Currently Voice Actions and the improved Google Search widget are preloaded on the Motorola Droid 2; but other devices with 2.2 (EVO, Nexus One, Droid) can download several app updates to gain the functionality.
Chrome to Phone has been available for a little while, but it is now an official Chrome extension and App in the Android Market.
With these, users can seamlessly push Chrome content to their Android phone, including Google Maps, YouTube videos, and URLs.
While neither of Google’s announcements on Thursday were anything totally surprising, nearly all of Google’s first-party apps for Android are must-haves, and this deepens the functionality of Android as an access device, while simultaneously extending Google’s Chrome desktop presence into the mobile space.