Google's Android 4.1 Jelly Bean release is chock full of sweet features. Perhaps the most attention-grabbing addition of all, though, is a scrumptious little thing called Voice Search.
Voice Search lets you control your Android phone or tablet by speaking aloud (kind of like Siri, yes -- except this technology actually works). It's an expansion of Google's Voice Actions feature, which has existed in Android since 2010.
What can Google's new Voice Search do? Plenty. Here are 15 categories of tasks worth trying on your Jelly Bean device. Among them, you'll find a whopping 70-plus examples of queries that'll get you great results.
So grab your phone or tablet, clear your throat, and get ready: It's time to start talking.
(You can get to Voice Search on any Android 4.1 device by tapping the microphone icon either on the home screen or in the Android search tool. Alternatively, you can say "Google" from the search tool or from Google Now to instantly launch Voice Search and have it start listening.)
One of the most basic but useful features in Google's new Jelly Bean Voice Search is weather. You can ask your device for detailed forecast info in almost any way you want.
For example, say "Is it going to rain this weekend?" and Voice Search will respond by showing you the weekend forecast for your area while reading you the highlights.
Say "What's the weather in San Francisco?" and Voice Search will show you the forecast for the city while speaking the info aloud.
Some other weather-related queries to try:
"How hot is it gonna be on Sunday?"
"When is it going to rain next?"
"Do I need an umbrella today?"
The options are practically endless.
Restaurants and businesses
In an unfamiliar area? Fire up Google Voice Search and let it help you out.
Some types of queries that could come in handy:
"What's a good Thai place near me?"
"Where's a museum around here?"
"Where's the closest bowling alley?"
In most cases, Voice Search will show you a map-based list of options; you can then tap on any place to get detailed location info and directions. If the answer to your question doesn't involve a choice -- there will only be one bowling alley nearest you, for example -- the system will automatically launch into directions for you.
Google's Android 4.1 Voice Search can do a lot of stuff related to sports. If you want scores or info on recent or upcoming games, you're in luck:
Ask your device "When's the next Cubs game?" and it'll show you a graphic with the answer while audibly telling you the details.
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