Google Now Brings Voice Commands For Oft-Used Smartphone Settings In Lollipop

For all the hand-wringing following the debacle with Samsung’s smart TVs, the voice command really is a useful tool. Google has been working to improve voice commands in Android and, at long last, it appears to have added some excellent new voice commands to Android. Sadly, it looks like the new commands work only in Android 5.0, known as Lollipop.

Google Now voice commands have been available in Android for a while, but as noted by Android Police, which first reported the new voice command functionality, many of them did little more than open the settings page for the feature you wanted to use. From there, you had to use your finger to enable or disable the feature.

Android Lollipop now has voice commands for Google Now that let you toggle your phone's Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and flashlight.

Now, at least some of those features have voice commands that support toggling the feature on and off. Bluetooth, Flashlight, and Wi-Fi are all supported: just say “Turn on Flashlight,” and your smartphone’s flashlight will power on. The phone also provides audible feedback to let you know that the feature had been enabled/disabled. That’s not really necessary for the flashlight, of course, but makes sense for the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth toggles.

Google added the voice command features quietly and hasn’t given any indication as to whether you’ll be able to toggle other settings, like airplane mode, down the road. And if you’re an earlier version of Android, it looks as though you’re out of luck. Still, it’s good to see Google slipping in some useful features like this.