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How to impress your friends (or annoy your iOS counterparts): 40+ voice searches thrown at Google on Jelly Bean

I never make videos, but felt compelled to share the many new voice capabilities on +Android, some of which were not demoed on stage during Google #io12. You may be surprised by some answers, notably those provided by the Knowledge Graph.

This is not a performance or comparison test (I don't have an iPhone 4S or a Samsung Galaxy S3).

Also, sorry about the quality. My old Canon PowerShot does NOT do justice to the beautiful screen on the Galaxy Nexus.

Disclaimer: the only edits I made were to cut time between each of my queries, as well as re-order some of the demos from the original order I recorded them in, so they would fit into categories. None of the queries themselves have been edited or cut down, and the sequences are intact. The processing time happened exactly as you see. This demo is made on the early build of Android 4.1 (JRN84D, takju build for Galaxy Nexus I/O edition), on a wifi connection. Consider this beta.

A few observations:

1. Google will give you walking or driving directions directly, if you specify it. Asking for transit or biking directions does not work at the moment.

2. Google is able to distinguish how 'long' a bridge is in length vs. how 'long' a movie is in duration. That's assuming the data already exists in the KG.

3. Local search, coupled with auto-correct, is able to properly locate and spell 'Worcester Mass' and 'Wooster College', even though these places are in different states and can be pronounced the same way (or at least, I did).

4. The voice will speak back any answer it finds in the KG; however, Google currently requires that your query somewhat matches the way attributes are labeled in the Graph. For example, asking for the 'height requirement' of Space Mountain works, but asking 'how tall do I have to be for Space Mountain' does not work at the moment, because this particular data is labeled as 'height requirement'.

5. In order for answer cards to work properly, everything on your device (and the Google Now app) must be set to US English. More languages will be available soon.

6. Sorry, Siri! Although I'm not on the  #boycottapple  bandwagon per se, I gotta say, it's becoming more difficult to love you. :)
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49 comments
 
+Sci Wizam I was just browsing r/android 2 minutes ago and saw your thread! Thanks for sharing, definitely cool to see the video make it on Reddit.
 
I feel the comparison videos with Siri and hands-on reviews out there don't do justice to the new voice search in Jelly Bean. The Knowledge Graph is probably the biggest development in search yet, Android 4.1 just happens to be a first peak. I'm hoping other G+ users like +Scott Anderson , +Jeffrey Young , +Molly Wood , +Mike Elgan or +Thomas Morffew can re-share.
 
Impressive Technology. There is nothing else to say or compare.
 
What's up with it showing directions to Moscone Center and then when he closes it there is something about Wooster College? I don't wanna call fake, but that's definitely strange… Then later on he asks a question about Wooster College
 
Also, he says "Where is that museum with Egyptian stuff in San Jose?" and after he closes it, it shows "where is the tallest building in the world"
 
Fun watch, thanks for doing it. Is there like a complete reference of the commands you can use with JB?
 
+Jarin Udom Yes, he says "the only edits I made were to cut time between each of my queries, as well as re-order some of the demos from the original order I recorded them in, so they would fit into categories." You can even see some of the edits in the video, as you pointed out. More interesting would be to see any query failures he experienced.
 
Ah ok, I did not notice the cuts. Thanks :)
 
Hah, look at that.  #1 on r/android!
 
Impressive, Android eating Apple FTW.
 
I believe that it was Neill Graham in The Mind Tool who said that eventually humans would speak two languages.  One language would be for everyday use with other humans.  The other would be a very specific, syntactically predictable language that computers would understand.
 
0xC, you should have been able to think of that yourself :D

Haha, and the Barrel Roll is awesome.

Is this everything you tried btw? Or are there also queries which it didn't respond properly to? I can't imagine it always recognizes the speech correctly, or finds a wrong answer. For example here are some funny mistakes Wolfram Alpha used to make:
http://blog.wolframalpha.com/2012/04/17/overcoming-artificial-stupidity/
 
Awesome! Have they made it easier to do voice commands through earphones (like long press on the button or something)?
 
Want!... But also want to see it handle calendar functions...
 
Now have this on a desktop pc with always open mic and a computer reacting to the phrase "computer". Or, if you like creepy -- "HAL".
 
It's easy to tell who the fanbois are in the Comments...  ;)
 
I'm sorry, but this doesn't really work so well in the real world unless you have a quiet room and a trained voice to say things in the correct way
 
This is absolutely awesome stuff. And Google says its only gonna get better. Larry Page's reign as CEO looks like its going to be very succesful if this is what one year in charge looks can do.
 
I'm liking this. Can't wait to get my hands on it and use it myself.
 
Can't wait to get this on other Android devices like the galaxy note. 
 
Voice also works on the PC version of chrome browser, even the "do a barrel roll".  Don't know about other platforms.
 
Thanks for the response everyone. Just a few replies I wanted to add.

+Jarin Udom  Regarding the shots of 'Wooster College' you briefly saw, that's because I had to re-order some of the shots to fit into categories - as +Ben Kahn pointed out. However, the queries themselves are 100% intact - the speed is really as shown.

Oh, by the way you can ask 'where is the tallest buiding in the world', and Google will give you a map of the Burj Khalifa (I forgot to include that shot in my final video).

+Antonio Zugaldia  You can find a list of voice actions in the Nexus 7 Guidebook, which is free on the Play Store. Here's the link: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Google_Inc_Nexus_7_Guidebook?id=gKmQD47OvCYC . It's on page 37. However, those are voice actions. There is no reference for Knowledge Graph searches, since there are too many.

+Shawn Clover  As far as I know, you still have to use the touchscreen to initiate a voice search. Or you can say 'Google' while in the app, and it starts listening automatically.

+Ivan Raszl  Voice search works surprisingly well even outside on a busy street (that's with a Galaxy Nexus). But you are right on the fact that the voice recognition is still sensitive to dialects and accents.

+Luc Jansen  I know, 12 in hexadecimal should be easy (shame on me!). Haha. And yes, many of my queries did not work. Calendar functions don't work. And search queries with ambiguous phonetics or meaning often get Google confused. For example, navigate to 'Astoria, New York' keeps returning stores in New York.

+Freeman Pascal  You're right, searching by voice works on desktop in Chrome. I don't think this feature is enabled on other browsers. Definitely not Internet Explorer.

+Sci Wizam  Thanks again for posting on Reddit. Just wow. :)
 
Thank you so much for making this video! This makes me excited for this upgraded feature!
 
I'm really looking forward to watching more of these videos while waiting for JB on my non-nexus android device. The next 12-24 months are gonna fly by!
 
The most importat question of them all "how much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood" missed that.
 
What if you ask it "How long is the bridge on the river Kwai" do you get the answer in minutes or meters?
 
Anyone knows how many voice searches for Siri? 
 
I was so impressed with this video, I had to repost on Google+! Awesome! Nice work!
 
Great post. Thanks for taking the time to write it up.
 
I'm late to spot your post/video, but this is great demo.
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