Google I/O 2015 Preview: We’re doubling down on Android M, Chrome, Wear and more

Stephen and I are off to Google I/O 2015 this week (the first time we’ve sent 2 people – for double the coverage!) but we wanted to preview what we we’re excited about this week. I’d run through the list of expectations but Chance already made 90% of the list when the sessions were launched. Go check it out. Here’s what I’ve been hearing… Read more

Microsoft’s Google Now competitor Cortana coming to Android in June, plus tight integration with Windows (Video)

cortana

Reuters reported back in March that Microsoft planned to bring its Google Now competitor Cortana to Android, and Microsoft has now officially confirmed this in a blog post.

Today, we’re announcing a Cortana application for Android phones and for iPhones which works as a companion to Cortana on your Windows 10 PC. The ‘Phone Companion’ app on the PC will help you install the Cortana app from the Google Play or Apple App Store onto your phone so you’ll be able to take the intelligence of Cortana with you, wherever you go […]

The Cortana companion will be available for Android phones at the end of June and for iPhones later this year.

While Microsoft is pitching the intelligent assistant as a companion to a Windows PC, it appears that most of the functionality will work in the Android app without the need for a Windows device, Microsoft saying that you can “make the same queries, ask the same questions” in the standalone app …  Read more

Google says an open API is coming for Google Now cards

Google Now Nest

As reported on by The Next Web, Google at South by Southwest this weekend gave an interesting look at its plans for Google Now. Aparna Chennapragada, Google Now’s Director of Product Management, discussed Google’s personalized predictive data service and revealed some details regarding the future of the product. Chennapragada revealed that the company soon plans to launch an open API for Google Now that will allow third-party services to integrate it into their apps.

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Microsoft plans to bring Google Now competitor Cortana to Android devices, with focus on predictive intelligence

cortana

Microsoft is planning on making the next generation of its voice-recognition system, Cortana, available on Android and iOS devices sometime after the fall, reports Reuters. The focus, says the company, will be on an intelligent assistant that predicts the help you need, rather than simply responding to user requests.

Cortana could tell a mobile phone user when to leave for the airport, days after it read an email and realized the user was planning a flight. It would automatically check flight status, determine where the phone is located using GPS, and checking traffic conditions.

Google has of course long majored on this kind of proactive approach through its Google Now service, which aims to work out what you will want to know when, but Microsoft believes that integrating everything into the digital assistant is the future …  Read more

Google Now adds cards for notifications from 40 Android apps

Google-Now-app-integration

Google announced today that it’s adding new cards to Google Now, those context-aware notifications that pop up in the Google app for Android, using information sourced from other Android apps. That means rather than opening various apps to check out the latest updates in each, you’ll be able to view updates directly in the Google Now feed. Read more

You can now control your Nest with Google Now voice commands

Google Now Nest

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 announces Echo, a dedicated, Google Now-like speaker system for quick information

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.

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Google Now rolls out Solar Eclipse and Police Activity cards

Google-Now-Cards

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.

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