How to Use Voice Input on the Nexus 7 Tablet

The Nexus 7 tablet has the amazing ability to interpret your utterances and mumblings as text. It works almost as well as computer dictation in science fiction movies, though without command to destroy the planet Alderaan.

How to activate voice input on the keyboard of the Nexus 7 tablet

To ensure that voice input is listening to you and available with the onscreen keyboard, obey these steps:

  1. At the Home screen, touch the All Apps icon.

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  2. Touch the Settings icon to open the Settings app.

  3. Choose Language & Input.

  4. Ensure that there’s a check mark in the box by the item Google Voice Typing.

    If there isn’t, touch the box to place a check mark there.

  5. Touch the Home button to return to the Home screen.

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The Microphone button now appears on the onscreen keyboard.

How to dictate to your Nexus 7 tablet

Talking to your tablet really works, and works quite well, if you touch the Microphone key on the onscreen keyboard and properly dictate your text.

After touching the Microphone key, you see a special window appear at the bottom of the screen. When the text Speak Now appears, dictate your text. Speak directly at the tablet.

As you speak, a Microphone graphic on the screen flashes. The flashing doesn’t mean that the Nexus 7 is embarrassed by what you’re saying. No, the flashing merely indicates that the tablet is listening, detecting the volume of your voice.

As you blab, the text you speak — or a close approximation — appears on the screen. It’s magical, though sometimes comical.

  • The first time you try voice input, you might see a description displayed. Touch the OK button to continue.

  • The better your diction, the better your results. Also, it helps to speak only a sentence or less.

  • If you don’t like a word that’s chosen by the dictation feature, touch it on the screen. You see a pop-up list of alternatives from which you can choose one.

  • You can edit your voice input just as you edit any text.

  • Speak the punctuation in your text. For example, you would say, “I’m sorry comma and it won’t happen again” to have the Nexus 7 produce the text I’m sorry, and it won’t happen again (or similar wording).

  • Common punctuation that you can dictate includes the comma, period, exclamation point, question mark, and colon.

  • Pause your speech before and after speaking punctuation.

  • There’s no way presently to capitalize words you dictate.

  • Dictation may not work when an Internet connection is unavailable.

How the Nexus 7 tablet dictation interprets bad words

The Nexus 7 features a voice censor. It replaces those naughty words you might mumble, placing the word’s first letter on the screen, followed by the appropriate number of asterisks.

For example, if petunia were a blue word and you uttered petunia when dictating text, the Dictation feature would place p****** rather than the word petunia on the screen.

Yeah, I know: silly. Or “s****.”

The tablet knows a lot of blue terms, including the infamous “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television,” but apparently the terms crap and damn are fine.

How to command the Nexus 7 with your voice

You can say “Here, kitty” all you like, but the cat may never come. On the Nexus 7, however, you can use the Voice Search app to find things with your voice and actually meet with some decent results.

Start the Voice Search app by locating it on the All Apps screen. You can also access Voice Search from the Home screen by touching the Microphone icon in the upper-right corner.

After starting the app, you see the Google Speak now prompt, along with a glowing microphone icon. Dictate what you want, such as “Restaurants near me.” In a few moments, the Nexus 7 runs the proper app and finds what you’re looking for.

Examples of what you can utter into the Voice Search app include

Find a good Chinese restaurant
Send e-mail to Obama
Listen to The Monkees

The Voice Search feature is part of Google Now. In addition to commands you can also ask the Nexus 7 some questions. For example:

What is 18 times 45?
How tall is the Statue of Liberty?
Who won the last Red Sox game?

Have fun.

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