Ever wonder if Android phones had its version of iPhone’s Siri personal assistant? If you have not been using Google Now commands, wait till you see this…
What is Google Now
Google Now is an intelligent personal assistant from Google, first released in 2012. It has since then made its way into the vast majority of modern Android smartphones and convinced countless users from all around the world about its usefulness.
No wonder it’s often compared with Apple’s own intelligent personal assistant and knowledge navigator, Siri, and sometimes even dubbed “the Siri for Android.” After all, Siri was released two whole years prior to Google Now, which is a lot of time in the constantly changing world of technology.
What makes Google Now so useful? The ability to effortlessly perform various actions via a natural language user interface (i.e. speech), thus negating the need to use both hands to operate our steadily larger smartphones. Not only does it allow you to focus on the task ahead of you, but it also means that you don’t have to know exactly how to obtain a certain information – you just have to know how to ask.
Google Now uses a visually distinctive interface comprising of an assortment of cards, each displaying a different kind of information. There are cards for concerts, events, flights, location reminders, movies, news, appointments, public transportation, sports, stocks, weather, and time reminders, just to name a few. What’s more, third-party applications can implement their own cards to further enhance the overall functionality.
With the arrival of Android 6.0 “Marshmallow”, Google Now gained a support for a new feature called “Google Now on Tap”. This features allows Google Now to work inside apps and contextually understand users’ questions and requests. For example, it’s now possible to ask “what is his real name?” inside a music application to find out that Skrillex is, in fact, Sonny John Moore.
How to Set Up Google Now
Before you can say “Ok Google” on your Android phone or tablet to start a voice search, you first need to turn on the feature.
- Update the Google application to the latest version.
- Simply go to the Play Store page of the Google app and press Update (if available).
- Open the Google application by clicking on its icon in the application drawer.
- Go to Settings > Voice > “Ok Google” detection and Check the box next to “From Google app.”
- Of course, you may also choose to select “From any screen” or “Always-on”. It all depends on where you want the feature to listen to your commands.
Don’t forget that you also can simply swipe up from the Home button and select Google Now, or swipe from left to right on the Google New Launcher to activate Google Now.
Google Now can be customized through its own settings menu, where you can select which cards and websites you want to get information from and precisely configure, for example, the location for weather preferences.
Activate and Use Google Now on Tap
To get the most out of your device and Google Now, we strongly recommend you activate the Google Now on Tap feature to gain the ability to contextually search for information within individual applications.
- Make sure you have, at least, Android 6.0 (Android M).
- Touch and hold the Home button.
- Follow the instructions to turn on Now on Tap.
You will now be able to touch and hold the Home button to activate the Google Now on Top and have Google use what’s on your screen to show related information.
The Most Useful Google Now Voice Commands
The following list contains the most useful commands that Google Now understands. With a little bit of imagination, you can easily come up with creative ways how to expand upon them to get even more functionality out of this intelligent personal assistant.
- Open [Calendar]
- Take a [picture / photo / selfie]
- Record a video
- Search for [Mexico]?
- Say [where is the movie theatre] in [Arabic]?
- How do you say [goodbye] in [Spanish]?
- What is [Google]?
- Define [abstract]
- Who is married to [Barack Obama]?
- Stock price of [Apple]
- What is [Microsoft] trading at?
- Author of [50 Shades of Grey]
- How old is [Bill Gates]?
- Show me pictures of [New York]
- Post to Google+ [Hi everyone!]
- Post to Twitter [Twitter is awesome!]
- What is [a torn meniscus]?
Alarms and Reminders
- Set an alarm for [7 AM]
- Set a timer for [20 minutes]
- Wake me up in [1 hours]
- Create a calendar event: [Party with friends] [Friday at 9 PM]
- When’s my [next lunch]?
- What is my schedule for [tomorrow]?
- Remind me to [buy toilet paper] at [6 PM]
- Remind me [when I get / next time I’m at] [home / work / other location] [to call John]
- Call [Bill]
- Call [the Asian Art Museum]
- Call [mom / dad / wife / uncle ]
- Send [email] to [Storm], [Subject: Meeting], [Message: Re-scheduled to 5PM]
- Send [SMS] to [Sam mobile], [don’t forget to buy movie tickets]
- Find [Sam’s] [phone number / email / address]
- What time is it in [New York]?
- When is the sunset [in Prague (optional)]
- What is the timezone of [the Czech Republic]
- Time at [home / work]
- [5 * 5] equals
- How much is  times ?
- What is  percent of ?
- Square root of 
- What is the tip for  euros?
- Convert [currency / length …] to [another currency / length …]
- Where’s my package? (tracking confirmation must be in Gmail)
- When is [Mary’s] birthday?
- Say “Metronome” to start a metronome.
- Flight status of [AA 125]
- When will [AA 120] land / depart?
- Show me my flights
- Map of [Berlin]
- Where’s my hotel?
- Find the [Eiffel Tower]
- Where is [the Louvre]
- Show me the nearby [shopping mall] on map
- Navigate to [London] on car
- How far is [Washington] from [California]?
- Directions to [address / business name / other destination]
- What are some attractions in [New York City]?
- What’s the weather like?
- Do I need an umbrella today?
- Is it going to rain [tomorrow / Monday]
- What’s the weather in [Dubai]?
- How’s the weather in [New Jersey] on [Thursday] going to be?
- Go to [Gizmodo]?
- Open [times.com]
- Show me [google.com]
- Play some music
- Listen to / play [Gangnam Style] by [PSY]?
- What songs does [Michael Jackson] sing?
- What’s this song?
Movies and TV
- Watch [Sin City]
- Listen to TV
- What movies are playing [tonight]?
- Runtime of [The Lord of the Rings]
- When was [The Mission Impossible] released?
- Who acted in [The Minority Report]?
- Where is [Ice Age] playing?
- YouTube [how to change tires]?
- How are [the New York Yankees] doing?
- When is the next [Los Angeles Lakers] game?
- Show me the [Premier League] table
- Did [Bayern Munich] win their last game?
· When am I?
· Make me a sandwich!
· How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood.
· Beam me up, Scotty!
· What is the nature of the universe?
· Who are you?
- What is the answer to life, the universe, and everything?
Google does a great job at explaining users on-the-fly what’s really possible with Google Now. That’s why you shouldn’t treat this list as a homework that you have to memorize. Instead, use to as an inspiration and don’t be afraid to experiment on your own. Chances are that you will stumble upon something very useful and seamlessly implement it into your daily workflow.