Google lets you launch Android camera by voice command

Android's search app understands "take a photo" or "take a video" instructions -- but opening the search app may be just as much trouble as launching the camera app.

A new feature lets Android users issue a voice command to launch their phone camera app in photo or video mode.
A new feature lets Android users issue a voice command to launch their phone camera app in photo or video mode. screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

An update to Google's search app lets Android users launch their phone's camera, in photo or video mode, with a voice command.

"With the Google Search App on Android, you can just tap the microphone or say 'OK Google,' then 'take a photo' or 'take a video.' Google will launch your camera app in the preferred mode," Google said in a Google+ post on Wednesday night.

I couldn't get it to work with video in my test today on a Nexus 5, but the "take a picture" and "take a photo" commands worked, presenting a choice of installed camera apps to finish the command.

For the command to work, most people will have to first launch the search app, which means pulling up from the bottom of the screen on most phones and swiping left from the home screen on a Google Nexus 5. That's potentially a lot harder than just tapping the camera icon.

But don't consider today's interface to be done. The Touchless Control feature on some Motorola phones is always listening for the words "OK Google," and that approach could spread widely especially as devices like smartwatches and Google Glass spread the idea of voice controls.

Via the unofficial Google Operating System blog

About the author

Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and covers browsers, Web development, digital photography and new technology. In the past he has been CNET's beat reporter for Google, Yahoo, Linux, open-source software, servers and supercomputers. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces.


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