Voice control is a relatively new feature for mobile devices, but it’s something you might not have used much. For many people, the idea of commanding your phone to do something is a little embarrassing.

But according to Google, voice-activated searches have doubled in the past year, with people using it 30x more to search on-the-go than typing.

Google’s voice search is activated by saying “OK Google”.

Google Now interface with Google Voice search

By asking it questions, you can find out facts, organise your calendar and communicate with friends. And what you might not know is that it’s also a portal tourist guide, packed with facts and useful titbits. You can ask it for directions, find nearby places of interest and even get foreign translations.

Because voice control provides spoken information about your surrounds, you can explore places by listening. This allows you to enjoy your surroundings more without having your head buried in a guide book or eyes locked to your phone – what Google calls an ‘eyes free’ experience.

We took part in what Google dubbed an ‘Eyes-Free tour’, exploring the sites around King’s Cross station in London using voice search. Check out the video above to find out more.

Google Voice control

Bjorn Bringert, software engineer at Google says most of us carry phones we use to help us day to day: “But typing on your phone can be slow and cumbersome and might make you walk into a street pole!

“Now you can easily tap and talk to the Google app to get what you need and keep your eyes free to enjoy what’s around you.”

Google voice search understands context, allowing you to have a conversation with it. Ask it a question such as ‘What is the London Shard?’ and it will respond. You can then ask follow-up questions such as: ‘When was it built?’, ‘How tall is it?’ and ‘Who designed it?’

To use Google voice search you need to download the Google search app, which is pre-installed on Android smartphones or available free from the Apple app store. You need to be connected to wi-fi or have a data connection.

Do you use voice search on your smartphone? Let us know in the Comments section below