Google talked a lot about using Google Now in different products at their keynote earlier today, but they didn’t mention the newest update to Google Search that’s rolling out on Android devices. The latest update ramps up the capabilities of the “OK Google” hotword detection by setting it up to work anywhere on your phone instead of just on the home screen or in the search app. Now you’ll be able to tell Google to do anything from your text messages app, Angry Birds, or anywhere else on your device. There were some rumors that this would be coming to Search earlier this year, and it’s finally been implemented.
Microsoft has a new virtual personal assistant, Cortana, that is part of the Windows Phone 8.1 developer’s preview and is scheduled to formally launch later this year in the U.S., the U.K. and China. Currently, Cortana can be used by anyone willing to set their device to U.S. settings, an action that has proven to be popular in China. Microsoft does not seem to be content to making Cortana available in different geographic regions – they are also discussing making Cortana available on other platforms, including Android.
Google has added the ability to grab events from Gmail and present them as a card in Google Now, otherwise known as ‘inferred events’. The service has been rolled out for some users, and Now pulls information from users Gmail accounts to create a card.
Users can choose whether or not they want the feature in the “everything else” section of Google Now’s settings. It’s important to note that this feature is different from Now pulling things like flight information. The service may also start pulling from other things, like Hangouts.
Source: Android Police
Google has become better and better at providing contextual cards at the top of search results based on queries made by users. If you don’t know what I mean, just search “What’s the weather?” and you’ll find a nice-looking card with the current temperature, precipitation, humidity levels, wind speed as well as the week’s forecast.
Similar cards appear for various queries, including sports data.
Now, Google has added some really great looking cards for World Cup information, including team lineups before matches, schedules/brackets, standings, stats, and even a timeline of plays from the game. Just search “World Cup” or “World Cup USA” and you’ll see what I mean.
If you get to travel using public transportation on a regular basis, the next time you board your train, subway or bus, you may want to check out Google Now. It appears a new option has been added that will let you set an alarm for when you are close to your final stop.
The new feature uses locations like Home and Work that you may have setup as favorites in Google Maps. It does not seem to be connected to a device’s clock app which is normally used for alarms, operating completely through Google Now. The nice thing is Google handles all the calculations, so all you have to do is hit a button to set the alarm.
So the next time you are traveling via the public transit system, be sure to set the alarm and then feel free to doze off or get engrossed in the latest news or play a video game.
source: Android Police
It seems like there’s new features being released to Google Now every week. This weeks new feature is that Google Now will now parse your call reminder queries for contacts in your phone numbers and local businesses, and add a call button automatically.
Once Google Now recognizes that the reminder is linked to a business, it will add the call button, and once that button is pressed, users will see a list of local matches for that particular business. The feature will vary depending on the users location, but it still is a cool feature, and shows the lengths Google is willing to go to in order to improve Google Now.
Source: Android Police
Lately we’ve seen Google push for location-sensitive reminders in Google Now, especially with the monthly walking counts and parking spot reminders, but it looks like they’re close to finally adding in contact-based reminders and notifications. In short, Google Now will be able to give you a notification about something whenever you’re around a particular person or place.
Google has been consistently expanding its Search application since the introduction of Google Now. It seems as though the company is interested in implementing an “always on” listening mode so that users can access relevant information without looking at or touching his or her device, being referred to as Android Eyes Free, internally.
Google Now keeps track of a lot of things for you, but sometimes it’s more useful to be able to ask your phone a direct question and get an answer back, especially when it comes to things like car rentals. Thanks to the latest update from Google, you’ll now be able to use Google voice search about any car reservations you have, and it’ll pull information directly from your Gmail account and display it for you. If you already have a reservation, the app will pull up all the details for you, including pick up and drop off times. And if you haven’t made a reservation, well, it won’t return anything and you know what the next item on your to-do list should be.
Earlier this week, we learned that you can easily set a timer using Google Now, but there is one other new feature to fill you in on. Well it’s partially new. You could already set a reminder with Google Now, but it just got a little easier.
With the latest update, you can do it all with your voice. Before, you could only make the request with your voice, and you had to confirm things with your fingers, as in tapping. Now you can simply say “yes” or “set” to confirm Google’s interpretation of your request.