The power of Google knows no bounds
Google Now is the virtual assistant that works with the Android operation system, always on hand to help out with the trials and tribulations of day-to-day life. But are you getting the most out of Google Now? Could you be saving time by simply asking your smartphone to do stuff instead of poking at the screen? Here’s our top seven tips to demand more from Google…
The Google Now launcher
To start off with, if you don’t have a Nexus smartphone, but still want the stripped Android experience you can download Google Now Launcher. This app re-skins your whole phone to give it the pure Android appearance (the image above is what it looks like mixed with Samsung). Also giving you access to Google Now with a swipe from the left.
“OK Google” from anywhere
Saying the “OK Google” command while on your home screen launches the app – it’s the default location. It’ll then listen for a secondary command like: “Set an alarm for 6 O’clock tonight” or “how long does it take to get home?” But, did you know you could set Google Now to work from anywhere – even the lock screen?
Swipe in from the left to find the Google Now home, and tap the three lines at the top left (called the hamburger menu) to find Settings. Then navigate to Voice > “OK Google” detection and switch everything on.
The shiny new weather app
You can ask Google about the weather forecast as you would any normal human. You can use commands like, “what’s the weather doing later on?” or “will I need an umbrella tomorrow morning?” And with Google’s new Weather app, it looks great too.
The Shazam killer
Apps like Shazam and SoundHound have found fame for being able to identify music by simply listening to it. But, of course, Google can do that too – cutting out the middleman. Say something like “what am I listening to?” or “what’s this song?” and Google will tell you. You can also just tap the musical note after saying “OK Google”.
Need to quickly flick Bluetooth on, but can’t be bothered to root through your smartphone’s settings? Just ask Google to do it for you.
You can also get it to toggle Wi-Fi, NFC, and activate your flash for use as a torch. Interestingly, the command “turn on the flashlight” doesn’t do anything on the Samsung Galaxy S6 we’re using for this article. Maybe Google knows it an Americanism, as “turn on the torch” works straight away.
If you’re on the move a lot you'll know the dangers of text-walking. To avoid unwanted lamp post injuries, you could try out hands-free messaging. Simply tell Google who you want message, what you want to say, and it’ll take care of the rest.
Example command: “Send a WhatsApp message to Andrew.”
It’ll then ask you what your want to say…
“What time are we meeting for lunch today?”
And it’ll confirm whether or not you want to send it or change anything. Easy.
Lost in translation
You’re holidaying in Bordeaux and the rudimentary French you learned in school isn’t quite cutting it. Google Now to the rescue. Simply ask it how you say something and the language you want, and it’ll sort you out. It’s even pretty savvy with phrases.
Example request: “How do you say ‘how far is the airport’ in French?”
“Quelle est la distance de l'aéroport?” it replies.
Got anything to add to our list? Drop us a comment below