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I love Google's Voice Actions! It lets me listen to a song of my choice by simply saying "Listen to <song name>".

Problem is... I can't find any way to start Voice Actions itself by voice. I must touch the screen in order to start it.

So, my question is two-fold:

  1. Is there a way to start Voice Actions by voice? (or without having to touch the screen)
  2. If there isn't, what kind of a solution or workaround can you suggest for a blind person?

For example, some phones have only one tactile button (other than the power button, of course) -- the trackball. Is it possible to set that trackball to start Voice Actions when pressed long enough?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted
  1. Not that I'm aware of. Presumably you could create an application that listened to the mic all the time and triggered it (voice search) on a certain phrase, but as voice to text is done "in the cloud" it would require a huge amount of data to go back and forth to accomplish this. One shudders to think of the implications on non-unlimited data plans, not to mention what it would do to your battery life.

  2. Many phones launch voice serach when you press the button on a bluetooth headset. YMMV, try connecting a bluetooth headset and see what happens when you press the button.

another forum thread about launching search from a headset

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+1. Great answer and insights. Based on this, having the phone constantly listening is impractical. I wonder whether there is a way to have local speech recognition, even if limited to one command only. – ateiob Aug 25 '11 at 18:13

if your phone has hard keys you can start void by holding down the search key (don't have to touch the screen).

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+1 this is what i use. There probably isn't a way to start it by voice, because it'd always have to be listening, but memorizing the location of one button and holding it down is pretty simple, and it gives you an audio cue when it's listening! – jlehenbauer Aug 25 '11 at 17:47
@bytebender +1 That's a great solution if I don't mind limiting the choice of phones. Is it the only solution? I would love to hear additional ideas. For example, some phones have only one tactile button -- the trackball. Is it possible to set that trackball to start Voice Actions when pressed long enough? – ateiob Aug 25 '11 at 17:53
my phone (HTC EVO) has touch-sensitive buttons, but the search button is in the far bottom right corner, so i seldom look to use it anyways. – jlehenbauer Aug 25 '11 at 17:59
@jlehenbauer This is great input. +2. – ateiob Aug 25 '11 at 18:10
thanks @ateiob! but i'm with you, i'd love to see some interesting solutions to this question :) – jlehenbauer Aug 25 '11 at 18:13

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