Google Opens Speech API to Third-Party Apps

Google yesterday announced that it has opened the voice command functionality available on most Android mobile devices to third-party apps. Now, with the usual “OK Google” command and the latest version of the Google Search app, users can launch applications with nothing more than their voices.

Right now only a few select apps are available in Search. Among those already available, users can find their next homes with Trulia, Zillow, and Realtor.com; shop at Walmart.com; explore new music with Shazam; make travel plans with TripAdvisor; decide which movie to watch with Flixster; listen to NPR; and buy groceries with Instacart. Google says many more integrations are on the way.

"It's not so much just launching an app, but having it open and performing an action as well," Derek Ross, an Android enthusiast and blogger at Phandroid, wrote in a blog post yesterday. "Pretty convenient if your hands are tied or your phone is just out of reach."

Users will need the latest version of the Google app and the most recent versions of the third-party apps installed on their devices to make sure everything works properly.

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