Five of the coolest things you can do with Google Search Voice Actions

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If you have a modern Android smartphone, then you no doubt have quick access to Google Now (and thus, Google Search). While this gives instant access to a lot of really great info — weather, travel, calendar, shipping notifications, and the like — you may not realize that this is also a hub for powerful voice actions.

Google first started utilizing voice action in the early days of Android, but let’s face it — they were pretty bad and mostly unusable. Fast-forward a few years and, with the introduction of Now, Google revamped search and drastically enhanced Voice Actions. As of today, you can do a lot of really cool things using Now/Search (aside from search the web with your voice), like launch an app, play a specific music track, and much more. With that in mind, let’s take a look at five of my favorite things you can do with Google Now Voice Actions on your Android phone or tablet.

For those who may not know, you can access Google Now on most devices with virtual navigation keys (like the Galaxy Nexus or Nexus 4) by simply swiping up from the bottom of the Home button. On devices with physical keys, like the HTC One or Galaxy S4, try tapping the Home button twice. Once open, you can launch listening mode with the hotwords “OK, Google.” 

Navigate to …

It’s hard to say how many times/how often I use this command. Anytime I want to go somewhere new, I quickly swipe up on my Nexus 4 to launch Now, and say “OK, Google. Navigate to <wherever I want to go>.” Almost instantly, Search finds the location, sends that info to Maps, and Navigation starts without me having to touch the device at all. It’s brilliant.

Note to self

This one’s awesome. We all need to remind ourselves of something every once in a while, and this command makes that a breeze. With the device listening, simply say the command “Note to self <blah blah blah>.” Search will save everything you say after “note to self” and let you choose where to save it, be it GMail (in an email to yourself), Google Keep, or Evernote. It’s possible there are other applications that can take advantage of this command as well, but those are the only ones I have installed.

Google Now Screenshot


Remind me

Like “Note to self,” this one’s all about helping you remember things. You can tell it to remind you go get eggs the next time you’re at the supermarket, to call your mom at 6:30 p.m., to pick your kid up from school at 4:30 p.m. … or anything else, really. It’s time- and location-aware, and should toss a reminder in the notification area when the required activities are met (i.e. “the next time I’m at Target” or “at 7:00 p.m.”). You can also use the “Set Alarm” command to, well, set an alarm for a specific time.

What’s this song?

Have you ever heard a song and just can’t figure out what it is? Now you can just ask your phone. Really! Play a song, and just use the command “What’s this song?” and it’ll listen for a few seconds and spit out a result. It’s pretty sweet.


Make me a sandwich

I accidentally stumbled across this command one day while goofing off with a friend of mine, and we both found it to be hilarious. I don’t want to spoil the fun for you, so just give it a try for yourself. Tell your phone to make you a sandwich. For even more fun, try “sudo (pronounced like pseudo) make me a sandwich.” But, make sure to do that one second for the full effect.


This is just a fraction of the things you can do with Google Voice command. For a few more useful commands, check out Google’s list. Bear in mind that this isn’t close to the full list. I guess even Google itself is having a hard time keeping up with all the cool things Voice Actions are capable of.

About the author



Cameron is a die-hard Android fan and Senior Editor for Android Police. When he's not on the beat covering all the happenings in the Android world, you can usually find him tinkering with (read: breaking) his mobile devices or spending time with his family.

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