How to select multiple languages for Google voice search

howto muiltple voice languages2

Google has pushed voice search and actions to the forefront over the last few years, introducing features like the Google Now Launcher and the “OK Google” command. Many phones now let you initiate a search from any screen, and a few can even be woken up from slumber with the trigger phrase.

However, when you do a voice search, Google only listens for your one default language. If you speak multiple languages, you can change that in a few taps.

Head into the main Google app settings (open the Google app, or swipe over to the Google Now cards, then select Settings in the flyout menu on the left). From there, open the Voice section. The menu item you’re looking for is predictably called Languages. This will open up a new selection menu with dozens of languages, each one with a checkbox. You can select up to five of them for your phone to recognize on the fly, but make sure you long-press to pick a default language as well.

howto voice selection
Just pick the languages you speak.

Selecting secondary languages allows you to switch back and forth with a limit of one language per search. Basically, Google detects the language you’re speaking for each search, then plugs in the right translation engine. If you have voice output enabled, the device will also speak in the detected language.

howto voice spanish
All I remember of high school Spanish.

You won’t be able to mix and match words from multiple languages in the same query, but this is still much more convenient than going into the settings each time you want to use another tongue.

EU: This Is How We Would Improve Google’s Privacy Policy


Changes to Google’s privacy policy went into effect on March 1, 2012, but regulators in Europe are still pushing the search giant for changes. Now, they have outlined what Google can do to make its privacy policy more palatable to those across the pond.

The Article 29 Working Party, a collection of data protection agencies across the EU, released a six-page “list of possible compliance measures” this week that cover transparency, user controls, and data retention policies, including suggestions for making management tools more accessible.

On transparency, the EU wants Google to make its privacy policy “immediately visible and accessible,” so users don’t have to hunt around for it. If Google enters into any deals or acquisitions that affect this privacy policy, those changes must be clearly communicated. The EU also wants Google to avoid passive language (“we will” vs. “we may”), and all of this should be communicated in a “multi-layered approach” across Google services.

Meanwhile, “Google must provide users with more elaborate tools to manage their personal data and to control the usage of their personal data between all Google services,” the EU said. “This could be done by making the current dashboard more accessible (e.g. putting a link in the Google Profile popup) and to include all of Google services.”

Finally, Google must “define [its] retention policies” and keep EU data protection offices abreast of what’s going on.

“We’ve worked with the different data protection authorities across Europe to explain our privacy policy changes,” a Google spokesman said in a statement to PCMag. “We’re always open to their feedback and look forward to further discussing their suggestions in detail.”

In 2012, Google moved to consolidate 70 guidelines for multiple product profiles into one. But with that change, Google also created one profile for users rather than separate log-ins for services like YouTube, Search, and Blogger. It’s that account consolidation bit that irked privacy officials in the EU.

Many regulators urged Google to delay the March 2012 rollout. Google, however, stood firm and released it as planned.

That has led to several fines for Google in the EU. In December, the Spanish Data Protection Agency (AEPD) imposed a €900,000 ($1.15 million) punishment. A month later, France’s CNIL (Commission nationale de l’informatique et des libertés) fined Google €150,000 ($190,945) for similar infractions.

Regulators in four other European countries, including Italy, Germany, the U.K., and the Netherlands, have also opened investigations.

The tech titan is fighting more than just privacy concerns in Europe. Following this summer’s first “right to be forgotten” ruling, Google’s Advisory Council is touring the continent to discuss the new service, which it has reluctantly put into place.

Meanwhile, European Commission Vice President Joaquín Almunia recently re-opened an antitrust case regarding Google’s search business following pushback from rivals—a move which sparked a war of words between Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp and Google.

Earlier this week, Almunia told the European Parliament that he “strongly reject[s] attempts to transform competition enforcement into an ordinary political debate.”

“At the beginning of the month, I have communicated this to the company asking them to improve its proposals. We now need to see if Google can address these issues and allay our concerns,” he continued. “If Google’s reply goes in the right direction, Article 9 proceedings will continue. Otherwise, the logical next step is to prepare a Statement of Objections.”