Google Now improvements: better on Android, and coming soon to PCs
May 15, 2013
As search technology advances, it’s going to become more and more like human interaction. Apple’s Siri might have popularized conversational search, but many of us feel that Google Now quickly surpassed it – with its faster and more accurate results. Soon much of Google Now’s functionality will be arriving on PCs, by way of the Chrome OS and web browser. Not stopping there, Google also added some improvements to Android’s Google Now.
Before long, when you use Google search in Chrome, you’ll be able to search using only your voice – no button-pressing required. Just say “Okay, Google” followed by your search, and you’ll get a spoken Google Now-like response. It’s all right in your browser.
In case you’ve never used Google Now, that means you can ask about things like the weather, directions, or how tall you have to be to ride a specific roller coaster ... and Google will speak the answer to you. Failing that, you’ll get a more typical page of Google search results.
You’ll also be able to continue the conversation with follow-up questions (much like Siri). Google will “remember” your last query and continue the “conversation” on that subject. So after asking about the population of Las Vegas, you can say “how far is it?” and Google will tell you. Yep, it’s the future.
Updated Google Now for Android
The Google Search app for Android has already been updated today with some cool new features.
Reminders have long been one of the few ways that Google Now lagged behind Siri, but that’s no longer an issue. Tell Google Now what to remind you about – and when – and it will alert you when that time comes. Like Siri, it’s all done conversationally, so no need to memorize specific commands.
The updated Google Now also adds a few new perks that Apple’s reminders don’t have. If you take the same train every day, Google Now already knows that. With the new version, if you’re about to miss the last train, Now will remind you that you’d better hurry. These are technically reminders, but are really extensions of the predictive functionality that Now has always had.
Google didn’t give an exact release date for the new Chrome voice search, but the updated Google Now for Android is available now. If you have a Jelly Bean (Android 4.1 or higher) device, just update the Google Search app.