The Google app on Android has received an update today, as part of the company’s Update Wednesday regimen. The update bumps the app to version 220.127.116.117903 and includes a handful of notable new features, including new Google Now card settings and “Ok Google” setting tweaks.
It was only a matter of time following Google’s acquisition of home automation company Nest earlier this year that users would begin receiving the best of both worlds. One of the first marriages of each company’s products and services is Google Now integration with Nest, allowing for users to control the smart thermostat using voice commands. Read more
Amazon today announced a new hardware product called Echo. It’s essentially a speaker unit dedicated to being a voice-control system. It kind of sounds like Google Now but in a speaker for a single room instead of in your Android smartphone, tablet, or watch.
You can set alarms, control music, ask about the weather, search the web, ask questions, and access local news. It streams content via Bluetooth and WiFi, and connects to the Fire Phone (if you have one), iOS via the browser, Android, and desktop computers via the web. Instead of “Okay Google,” you say “Alexa” to start speaking the device. You’ll need a Fire OS/Android device to take full advantage.
The whole concept is very futuristic, and it’s unclear how beneficial this will be to people with voice-controlled phones. But, hey, this comes from the developers of a faux-3D phone, so this is not completely out of left field. The Echo is $99 for Amazon Prime users, $199 for everyone else, and (for some reason) you need an invitation to receive the honor to buy one of these things.
Google Now can remind you to pay your bills and now it appears that Mountain View’s intelligent personal assistant software can help keep you safe. A group of Reddit users have received police alert cards from their local law enforcement branches advising them of nearby criminal activity. So be sure to read these cards carefully if you happen to see one on your phone.
Google Now, according to several users and first noticed by Droid-Life, has today started to remind Pennsylvania residents to register to vote. The voter registration card appears to be showing up for anyone in Pennsylvania, and does not depend on whether you’ve recently searched for political news or information about the state.
Setting Google Now reminders by voice is all very well when you’re walking down the street, but you can feel just a little self-conscious doing it in an open-plan office or coffee-shop. Google now allows you to add reminders by typing them directly into the searchbar on your laptop, reveals the Google Blog.
You don’t have to use the mobile Google Search app to add reminders. Just search Google for add reminder or create reminder, enter a name, a date or a place. You can also enter specific queries like: add reminder to buy milk tomorrow or create reminder to buy sandwich when I am in Chicago. Just click “remind me on Google Now” …
Wouldn’t it be cool if you could tell your watch to change the temperature, turn on/off lights, or perform various tasks on your computer? Well, thanks to Android Wear and some third party services, you can transform existing smart devices around your house into fully automated tasks using a device like the Samsung Gear Live, Moto 360, or LG G Watch.
The process will slightly vary between different Android devices and “smart” devices in your house, but we’ve put together the groundwork necessary so that you can build on these ideas in your own home. The setup procedure is a bit more than some people would like to go through, but in the end saying simple commands from a smartwatch to control things in your house is absolutely worth it.
Google appears to be testing new voice command controls for media playback. Available to some, this new feature adds commands like “Ok Google, next song” when listening to music. Based on the company’s big push for wearables, Android in the car and on your TV, this hands-free approach seems like a natural progression.
If you’ve ever been using any form of Google voice recognition and gotten frustrated that the friendly female on the other side just can’t understand you, you may be happy to know that a quick command can now fix misheard words. Previously, you would have to start the query over completely, but the Google Search app can now fix its blunders on the fly using a natural corrective voice command.
After calling it the biggest update in Android’s history, Google yesterday announced that it would be making its Android “L” update available, albeit in preview/beta form, to developers today. The files were posted on the company’s official developer website earlier, and since then I’ve installed the preview on my Nexus 5 and been digging through it, seeing what kind of changes I could find, both mentioned and unmentioned by Google…