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With voice control becoming nearly ubiquitous in electronics for homes, cars, mobile communications and more, you might have seen this one coming. A free software upgrade for Garmin’s GPSMap chart plotters enables them to operate like Alexa or Siri. It’s called “OK Garmin,” because each command is prefaced by that phrase. The unit responds with a ping—your cue to speak your command or question.
With OK Garmin, you can change pages (from chart plotter to fish finder, for example) or control a networked audio system. You can also ask for information, such as the water depth, tide phase, fuel level and more. The Garmin will answer in its own voice, so you don’t have to look at the screen. It requires Garmin’s USB Voice Control Bundle ($59.99) to pair with a compatible USB headset. Garmin is also on track to add software support for earpieces such as AirPods.
To set up the OK Garmin feature, go to “Sound and Display Settings” and click on “Voice Control” in the GPSMap menu. Then select the language you want (such as English) and any specific accents or dialects.
Unlike traditional voice-command systems, Garmin’s voice control is embedded into the GPSMap unit, so it works even when your cruising adventure takes you outside cellphone range. To learn more, visit garmin.com.