Having a personal assistant on your smartphone is perhaps one of things smartphone users are currently looking for in a good device and while voice commands from Google were already present long before Siri, the iOS app took it to the next step, giving users a personal assistant on the iPhone. Google Now is Android’s response to Siri and is a fantastic attempt at making life easier for Android smartphone users. Learn how to use Google Now, and incorporate your Android voice commands as well.
What Exactly Is Google Now?
Some people believe that Google Now is only a take at Apple’s Siri, however, it is much much bigger than that. It isn’t just a typical smartphone assistant or voice recognition application but its something that is really proactive at giving you what you need before you actually need it. If you let Google Now learn about you and how you use your device, then you’ll get everything right before you need it including real time sports updates and traffic news.
To be honest, using Siri is not all that great and sometimes the questions you ask are answered in a funny or not so relevant way while Google Now doesn’t do anything like that. It gives out information, news and relevant links for whatever that you are looking for. An example of what Google Now is capable of doing is that, say, you have to go somewhere and it takes you 15 minutes to get to that location.
Now, a good assistant would give you a reminder 15 minutes before you need to reach your desired location so that you can reach on time. However, a great assistant would also remind you 30 minutes before you need to reach your location if there is a heavy traffic jam on the route and if it would take you an additional 15 minutes in the jam. This is what Google Now can do frequently for your daily routine. It isn’t like your typical smartphone assistant. It understands you and can make decisions on its own for your benefit.
This part of Google Now is similar to what Apple’s Siri can do and this is basically a voice assistant for your Android device. Using voice commands, you can ask questions to your smartphone without physically typing anything and you will get the answers within a couple of seconds.
The questions can be simple such as asking about the president of your country to asking about the current top movies. Google Now will answer all your questions and will also give you links to the relevant pages. Also, it performs all the things that a smartphone assistant would perform including settings alarms and reminders, sending messages and making phone calls.
This is where Google Now gets really interesting and takes the smartphone personal assistant experience to a whole new level. This is how Google Now learns about you, understands what you like and gives you whatever you want without you actually asking for it. Google Now will basically learn your habits, see what you are doing and show cards throughout the day at relevant times.
For example, it will show real time score updates when your team is playing, will give you traffic information while you have an appointment and will tell you about the upcoming flights and trains while you are on an airport or a train station. The great thing is that you really don’t need to do anything and Google Now will do everything automatically on its own.
How To Use Google Now
How well Google Now is as an assistant and how well it delivers you what you need depends on how you use it and whether you are using it in the right way. The first thing in using Google Now is obviously launching the app, which can be done through several ways. In order to launch Google Now, you can tap on your Google search widget or open the Google search app from your app drawer. Also, you can swipe from the bottom of the screen to the top of the screen in order to launch the app.
After that, you can edit various settings of the app by pressing the Menu button in the bottom right corner. You can edit settings such as offline voice recognition, blocking offensive words and using different languages.
Voice commands is one of the major parts of Google Now which lets you ask questions and tell your phone to do specific tasks. Using voice commands is extremely easy and you just need to tap on the microphone icon while in Google Now or press the microphone button in the Google search widget.
After hitting the microphone button, you will be able to speak to your phone and it should respond instantly. You can use Google Now for asking almost all sorts of things and below, you will find some examples of questions that you can ask Google Now to get things done on your phone.
So what can you ask your phone? Well, you can ask just about anything including knowledge related question to asking about the current date and time. For example, you can ask about the height of a famous building like the Eiffel Tower by saying “What’s the height of Eiffel Tower.” After asking, Google Now should give you the exact height of the building along with a lot more information such as links, directions and contact number. That’s the beauty of Google Now. Just by asking about the height, Google Now practically gave you almost everything that you need to know in order to reach the Eiffel Tower.
There is a lot more that you can ask and here are some examples:
- How much is 54 multiplied by 78
- Current time in Paris
- How many Dollars are in one Pound
- What time is the match between Manchester United and Arsenal
Weather, Routes and Directions
Aside from this, you can ask various questions about the weather by using commands like “What will be the weather tomorrow in London,” location of the nearest coffee house or restaurant by saying “Where is the closest restaurant,” movie timings and ticket availability by saying “Cinema tickets to the Wolf of Wall Street,” the next flight to Johannesburg by saying “When is the next flight to Johannesburg” and the route back to home by saying something like “how to get back home.”
You can also ask for translations if you’re in a foreign country. For example, if you’re in Paris and you need a taxi but don’t know how to speak French, you can ask Google Now what you should say if you want a taxi in French by simply saying “How to say I need a taxi in French” and it should instantly tell you the translation of “I want a taxi” or “I need a taxi” in French.
Alarms and Reminders
Setting up alarms is also quite simple using Google Now and you can simply use commands like”Set an alarm for 8 am” or “Wake me up at 8 am.” The great thing here is that you don’t actually need to specify a time and you simply say “Wake me up in 3 hours.”
Calls, Messages and Emails
Calling, texting and sending emails is also quite simple using Google Now. For calling, you can use commands like “Call mom” or “Call Dominos Pizza.” For sending messages, you can use commands like “Send message to David the party is at 10 pm” or “Message Dad I’ll be there in 1 hour.” For emails, you can say something like “Email Amy subject board meeting.”
Music and Videos
Commands like “Listen to Britney Spears” and “Play stairway to heaven by Led Zeppelin” can be used to play music on your phone. Commands such as “play the dark knight movie” or “play the superman trailer on Youtube” can be used to play movies and videos on your device.
Google Now Cards
While Voice commands are the heart and soul of Google Now, the Cards feature makes Google Now really special and takes the mobile assistant experience to the next level. As I’ve mentioned before, these Cards appear automatically throughout the day to remind you about various things and give you information about the things you like or are interested in.
The way this works is that Google Now constantly monitors everything going on in your device including your voice commands, reminders, web searches and emails. After getting big chunks of various sorts of information, Google Now understands you better and uses cards to give you information and remind of you things without you actually asking.
You can also enter information about yourself in Google Now in order to help the app understand you better. You can edit things like your work location and your web page history by simply going to the Settings/Accounts and Privacy menu in Google Now.
In order to set your preferences like how you travel, your favourite sports teams, your favourite stocks and your most visited places, you can simply click on the Customize icon in Google Now.
Here are some of the cards that might be displayed on your device by Google Now based on what you do on your phone without you actually putting in the info separately on Google Now:
- Hotel reservation confirmations and check-out time when you’re out of town
- Latest sports updates
- Your birthday and birthdays of your Google contacts
- Appointments and meeting notifications
- Distance travelled or walked in the past month
- Traffic updates and notifications based on your work and home routine
- Stock updates
- Movies playing at the nearest cinema and live concerts nearby that you might be interested in
- Information on books and TV shows that you might be interested in
This guide was written for you to improve your smartphone experience using Google Now. Almost everything that you can do and how you can do it on Google Now has been covered here and this is all that you need to know in order to use Google Now to its maximum. It has been a while since Google Now first hit Android smartphones and since then, Google has done an incredible job at constantly improving the app and making life easier for smartphone users. Use cool messaging apps to share the word about Google Now with your friends.
The beauty of the app is that the more you use it, the better it gets at understanding you, your preferences and your daily routine. Google is still working on improving the app further and it won’t be long before Google Now becomes a way of using smartphones rather than being just a smartphone assistant.