Do you use voice controls at all?

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from Arizona
Published: June 6, 2014

One of the things that happens quite frequently at a WWDC keynote speech is the overflow of new features/apps. With a once-a-year announcement there's obviously going to be quite a bit to announce, just like every other company realizes with the same type of yearly announcements planned out. The result is that some of the new things get slipped under the rug, or can just get missed entirely by someone who's watching the event (one way or another).

That happened to me this time around, unfortunately. While was watching the event, apparently I got up to go look inside my refrigerator around the time that Apple was busy talking about voice activated Siri. I'm sad that I missed that bit, because I probably would have done a little jumping motion to express my glee.

Then again, maybe it's good I missed it.

Well, thanks to Cam's Top 5 iOS 8 Features video, I got to see the function in practice, and I'm glad that Apple followed suit here with Google. One of the best things about Google's Google Now is the ability to activate it with your voice, making searches and other things a lot easier. Having that same ability in Siri just makes the digital personal assistant all that much more helpful. Plus, it's great that I don't have to raise it to my ear anymore. That never made any sense.

Voice has come a long way in a very short period of time, and I can't wait to see what happens down the road with the feature. The ability to control your phone, like Motorola's Moto X, without having to touch it is pretty great. Sure, I more often than not *want* to touch my phone, but having the option is a pretty cool one.

It helps that Motorola's making sure their own apps, which are tied to voice control in some way or another, are getting better, too. Like Motorola Assist's new ability to announce an incoming call or received text message. Sometimes you just can't hear your normal notification, so having your phone "yell" at you, especially if you're in another room, could be a useful tool. (It might also terrify you if you forget about it, and it's sitting right next to you.)

There's going to be a point, I think, that having a conversation with our phone is going to be not that far-fetched. Just imagine yourself in another room or something, your phone announces that you've got a text message, and you tell your phone, "Hey, reply to that for me with..." and then dictate your message and send it off. Or, as you set up calendar events or reminders, your phone interjects a few quips here and there, instead of just sitting there like a tool and transcribing what you want. I'm not sure how that could work with Google Now, but both Microsoft's Cortana and Apple's Siri could do something like this eventually and it would make perfect sense.

My question to you is a simple one: Do you use voice controls on your device, if you have the option? If you don't have the feature yet, do you plan on getting a phone that does in the near future, so you can take advantage of the function? Or is a voice-controlled phone something you aren't all that interested in? Let me know!