'Toby Jones Sex' and other Google Voice Actions craziness

How did my perfectly good voice recognition app suddenly go terribly wrong?

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I've owned a Motorola Droid 2 smartphone (running on Android 2.2) since November and really like it, much more than my old BlackBerry.

My two favorite apps by far are Google Maps Navigation -- a built-in GPS system -- and, especially, Voice Actions for Android, which I use on a daily basis.

(Also see: Speaking up for mobile voice input)

Or at least I did until recently. You see, the app hasn't been working very well of late, and I can't figure out why.

If you're unfamiliar with Voice Actions, it allows you to give your Android phone a number of commands, including sending text messages and emails, calling contacts, ordering up music on your device, getting directions and a number of other useful things.

Mostly I use the feature for texting. But about two weeks ago that essentially became impossible because the app no longer seems to recognize the words I speak into the phone.

I'm doing nothing different than before. Really. I'm enunciating clearly. I'm speaking the King's English, people! I checked "Google voice recognition settings" on my Droid and everything appears in order -- it's set for English as the default language, normal speaking speed, etc.

Yet when I touch the little microphone on my smartphone screen and "Speak Now" as instructed, instead of seeing a perfect transcription as I used to (with the exception of a few unusual names), all kinds of craziness ensues!

Just look at the examples below, which are quite real. First are the words I say into the phone, followed by what shows up in the little text box:

Me: "I'll be home at six."
Text: "toby jones sex"

Me: "What do you want at the store?"
Text: uribo stowa

Me: "What's going on here?"
Text: "otto buena amaga"

Me: "Google, this is no longer funny."
Text: "Google, s snow refrany"

Me: "Seriously, what is this bullsh*t?"
Text: "sevis uigures exposer"

A lot of these words appear to be in Spanish (though, c'mon, "toby jones sex"?), but again, the voice input is set for English.

If any readers can shed light on this (including the Google Voice team), I'd be most appreciative. Or, as Google Voice Actions puts it, "termalgin se puedan bebes animados."

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