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March 4, 2010

Using VLingo to Update Everything on your iPhone by Voice

Ok, maybe not everything, but certainly a lot.

I was reading the Mashable social media blog, as I am wont to do just to keep up on what's happening in the social media world (incidentally, they are almost singlehandedly to blame for some of my greatest time sinks, those that make the wife's eyes roll), and came upon this article about a really cool app for my iPhone.

VLingo is not a new app, but it is to me.  I had never heard of it before.  However, it seems to have been around for a little while, and even longer on the Blackberry.  What the app does is allow you to do a number of things on your iPhone using your voice instead of the keyboard.  Those of you who hate typing the little keyboard buttons will love this app.

The app is free, though certain parts of it will cost you (I'll get to that in a minute).  For free, you can use your voice to do the following:

  • Update your Facebook status
  • Update your Twitter status
  • Do a location search on Google Maps
  • Do a web search on at least three different search engines (yahoo, google, bing)
  • Call somebody in your Contacts

They have now updated their interface and added the following paid features:

Send email
Send an SMS text message

I don't use my phone to email that much and I don't send that many text messages, so I won't be paying for this at all.  However, if you do, this app would be a godsend!  No more typing away with your finger, hitting the wrong keys!  Both Text Messaging and Email are $6.99 a piece, or $9.99 if you buy both.  Again, not really worth it for me, though thankfully you can upgrade within the app at any time, so I can do that if it does become worth it.

The voice recognition seems to be quite good in my limited testing time so far.  I'm not the clearest speaker in the world, so the fact that it could recognize anything I said is quite the positive.  Also, as it learns your voice, it will pick things up better as well.

I just did a Facebook update and a Twitter update, and also did a bit of web searching. It's remarkably easy to use.  For a Facebook update, you just say "Facebook update I'm trying out VLingo right now and it's so cool!"  (Ok, you can say something else, as long as it begins with "Facebook Update") You do the same thing with Twitter.  Or, you can go to the app itself (within VLingo, not going to your iPhone Facebook app) and then just do an update there.  If you do that, you don't need to precede it with "Facebook update".

To call a contact, just say "Call Carl Home" if you have a home listing for Carl in your Contacts.

Don't worry.  It will tell you what it thinks you said first, allowing you to make any corrections before sending it out.  For calling, it will autodial in 3 seconds, so that's how long you have to determine whether you are correctly calling your mistress or accidentally calling your wife.

To show you how good the voice recognition is right at the start, I said the following:

"Bing movie times Scotiabank Theater Vancouver" to get movie times at one of our local theaters using the Bing search engine.  Scotiabank is, obviously, a proper name of the bank that sponsors the theater, and thus wouldn't appear in any dictionary.

It found it perfectly!  First listing on the page was "Movie Times - Scotiabank Theater."

This will be very handy at times, and I look forward to trying it out a bit more.  Now if they can just add Blogger functionality, I might do more blog posts from my phone!


  1. Great post Dave I think I will get the app and give it a go! Can you recommend any more apps please?

  2. Thank, James!

    I assume you already have the Vancouver Canucks app? If you don't, can you truly call yourself a Canuck fan? :P

    Unless, of course, it's not available in the UK. Then you get a pass.

    The IMDB movie guide app is essential if you find yourself saying "Damn, what movie was that guy in?" when you're out watching a movie.

    With "Shazam," you can hold your iPhone up to the speak of the audio device that's playing a song and it will tell you what that song is. No more "Damn, what is the name of that song????" when you're listening to the radio and they don't tell you who it is.

    There's a couple to start with.

    Or maybe I should just do another blog post? :)

  3. Yeah I have the Canucks app it was 1 of the 1st I downloaded. I will have a look @ the other 2 thanks!


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