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Android opens up to 'British English'

Google has made it possible for people to control their Android phones and tablet using spoken 'British English'.The software company introduced a tool called Voice Actions for Android in the US last year, allowing users to verbally direct their device to send a text to a contact, go to a website, or get directions to somewhere on Google Maps.
Written by David Meyer, Contributor on

Google has made it possible for people to control their Android phones and tablet using spoken 'British English'.

The software company introduced a tool called Voice Actions for Android in the US last year, allowing users to verbally direct their device to send a text to a contact, go to a website, or get directions to somewhere on Google Maps.

However, American English and British English have significant differences when spoken, and automated voice recognition systems notoriously struggle with the variations in accent that appear under the supposedly common banner of 'English'.

On Friday, Google said "users in the UK, France, Italy, Germany and Spain can now use Voice Actions in British English, French, Italian, German and Spanish".

In a blog post, product manager Bertrand Damiba wrote that the feature was available for devices running Android 2.2 or higher, and is downloadable from the Android Market.

Comments on Google's blog post welcomed the extended viability of Voice Actions, while also calling for the system to recognise Quebecois French, Indian English, Catalan and Glaswegian.

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