Pro-tip: you can set alarms for your Android phone using desktop Google search

setalarm

If you’re anything like me, at some point during your day you’ll consciously think to yourself about what time you’d like to get up the next day. You’ll think about it, but then just forget to set an alarm on your phone before you go to sleep and end up waking at a different time than you’d like. Well, there’s a neat card in Google search that can be evoked with a simply query that may help you with this problem.

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Google’s new location-aware voice search would have been great to debut at I/O

Quietly, Google introduced some new location-aware search functions in voice search over the last couple of weeks. The feature lets you perform several searches based on your location, with Google looking at its Maps data to figure out what you’re talking about. For example, you can voice search “how tall is this?” and looking at your location, Google can tell you the height of the building that you’re looking at. Read more

Here’s how Hound beta compares to Google Now (Video)

We told you earlier this week about a new voice assistant called Hound, and if you take SoundHound’s internal demo at face value, the app seems like it’s almost too impressive to be true. That video actually went somewhat viral (despite being recorded with a potato), and we wanted to put Hound through the paces to see if it lives up to the hype. We decided it wouldn’t hurt to put Google Now in the mix too and see how SoundHound’s new app compares to Google’s trusty voice assistant… Read more

SoundHound releases impressive ‘Hound’ voice search app, check out this demo (Video)

SoundHound’s first app is known as one of the best offerings when it comes to recognizing sounds. You could hum a song and the app could, fairly reliably, tell you which one you were humming. Now, the same company has released a new app, called Hound, which attempts to usurp the Google Now throne with some really impressive voice assistant technology… Read more

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