Google made a jump this week with voice search, giving third-party application developers support for voice features in apps running on Android devices. Android Developers launched its first set of partners for custom Google voice actions in Android apps.
The feature gives Google Voice the same functions as Apple's Siri and Microsoft's Cortana, voice assistants that communicate commands like "OK Google, listen to WSM radio" or "OK Google, show attractions near me on Yelp."
The move comes as Microsoft Bing expands Cortana through integration with third-party apps. At the Local Search Association 2015 conference in Los Angeles, Mike Calcagno, director of engineering, Bing Experiences, spoke about Cortana, as well as the future of digital assistants, artificial intelligence and search.
Google said custom voice actions are being tested with a select group of partners, but a wider rollout will come in the future. For example, users previously could only use voice actions to open third-party apps via commands. Now, Google's voice commands control actions within a select group of apps.
The third-party voice actions are part of a new feature Google calls Custom Voice Actions. The API lets developers integrate the feature into their apps. Some of the apps with the feature include NPR One, Shazam, TripAdvisor, Trulia, and Walmart.