September 09, 2015

The voice assistant has become more than just an app for making voice commands, there are a lot of stuff it can do:

Now cards

Provided you have updated to the latest version of the Google App, and use Google as your default search engine, you might have already seen some cards you like. Google now learns from your search history the topics you’re interested in and gives suggestions based on that.

Before, you had to instruct Google to do so, but now it’s automatic. These cards give you updates as a follow up to the results, so, for example you searched ‘Game of Thrones’, Google Now will tell you when there’s a new episode.

You will also get local news updates provided you’ve tuned on location services. This is important in case of emergencies or just general knowledge. Either way, I like it.

Sports and stocks updates

Open the Google app and touch the menu button at the top-left, afterwards select ‘customize’ and enter the sports teams and stocks you’re interested in. All sports teams are available, but not individual sports; for news about a specific player, you will find this in your Now cards. The same procedure works for stocks, and you can select from any stocks in the world.

Commuter updates

Public transport updates are also available from Google Now, but you have to enable location services, or at least set your ‘Home’ in Google Maps. If you don’t want to miss a flight, train or bus, Google Now has got you.

Personalizing Google Now

Google will learn your preferences over time and update you on relevant topics automatically, but you can also train Google to respond to your voice. It is now possible to enter your voice model from the settings. In so doing, Google Now will even respond to your voice and unlock the device. Furthermore, you don’t have to always open the app, it will recognize your voice even when another app is open and readily receive your voice commands.

What’s next?

It seems Google are very serious about improving this app, and it’s always good to keep it updated to enjoy any new features that come along. For the meantime, let’s just enjoy the already impressive functionality, although I’d really like it if it had a more lifelike voice.

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