Monday, 5 December 2011

Five Voice-based Virtual Personal Assistants for Android

Ever since I bought Samsung Galaxy Ace, I’ve been trying the pre-loaded Google Voice application to surf web with voice command, but results haven’t always been accurate. Therefore, I started exploring hundreds of voice recognition apps available in Android Market in order to find a reliable one. And still, I am in confusion, though I found some really good personal assistant apps that can obey my commands. I’m sure; some of you must be in similar situation – searching for responsive voice recognition app! I have tried few voice recognition apps and pleased to inform you about few high quality apps.

Google Voice:
Typing queries using small keyboard of mobile devices can be difficult. So, Google rolled “Google Voice” to make search easier in mobile phone. Personalized search feature is available on devices running on Android OS v2.2 Froyo or higher. You can set the preferred language, block offensive words, and other settings. The benefit of personalized search is that Google will associate your voice recording with your Google account in order to display result with high accuracy. 

One thing frustrating about Google Voice is its very slow transcription capability and limited accent in its data base. It does not catch sound easily. You have to speak bit-by-bit to make the app understand what you want to convey. 

I was trying Google Voice and the responses were:
I: call Ayush
Google Voice: Do you mean “I use”,
I tried several times, but it could not understand. Finally I tried a different name from my contact list.
I: call Vrinda
Google Voice in action: calling Vrinda
In my perception, Google Voice does not catch words properly. 

Vlingo Virtual Assistant:
Give voice command to open apps, email contacts, search the web, or update status on Facebook – Thanks to Vlingo. Just tap Vlingo widget and speak! Its voice recognition speed and accuracy is impressive, though not faultless.

Koememon is amazing voice recognition app. The best words to credit this app are “just speak your memo and it will convert it into perfect text. But it can be used only for making notes. It is not possible to command phones with the apps. But the transcription quality is extremely good. For making voice to text notes, I will give it 4 stars out of 5.

Inspired from iPhone feature Siri, a team of Android developers led by Narayan Babu built a clone of Siri, called as Iris. Interestingly, name Iris is backronym of Siri.

“Voice Search” and Text- to Speech (TTS) library should be pre-installed on the Android phones to get voice command feature of Iris. Iris is currently in an Alpha testing state.  When you ask the correct questions it can perform simple tasks such as making call & typing text to someone, search something on web, look up a contact and have conversations on varied subjects such as Philosophy, Culture, History, and Science to general conversation. Iris is expected to perform better on Ice Cream Sandwich Android version.

A good example how Iris work
I: call John
Iris: shall I call John
I: Yes
Iris in action: calling John

Edwin is a speech to speech application. It can h it can help you tweet, send message, surf the web, make calls, and more merely by voice commands. The app gives list of commands to help you do the action correctly. The app supports English as the source language and can translate to Spanish, Italian, French, and German. But you require speech synthesis data and TTS apps on your device to use the features. 

Edwin is great! It offers great functions and is truly your personal assistant. It performs mathematical calculations and conversions. The app is also ready to define the terms and spell words for you. It can act as your guide to find location and get direction, if GPS in on.  It performs hardware functions such as checking status, enabling and disabling of airplane mode, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth. It will also adjust brightness of the display of phone as per your preference. The app is happy to launch applications such as Gmail and Camera, and tell you time & date. All these features make it superior to other siblings.


  1. Hello,

    This is the perfect blog for anyone who wants to know about this topic. Personal Assistant is essentially a virtual service provider, it steps in to resolve and facilitate many administrative issues that crop up in the process of running your business. That allows them to choose a wide variety of services which will enable them to be successful in any situation...

  2. Awesome blog indeed! Thanks for sharing this information.

  3. This is just a great invention! Great post too! :)

  4. Hi Tarika, Adwin is really good..i tried it just now.........before i was using Google's voice feature, it sucks......BTW Iris is also working fine....