People love Android for dozens of reasons. The wide range of functionality, the hundreds of thousands of apps, the versatility afforded by Google’s open source approach… these elements all combine to create a fantastic mobile experience. But if there’s one thing that is perhaps most impressive and most useful about Google’s mobile operating system, it’s arguably Google Now — and it just got a whole lot better. More →
The Galaxy Gear may have fallen well short of expectations of both Samsung and consumers, but wearable technology is still in its infancy. Google might be the next to attempt a smartwatch and according to 9to5Google, the announcement of Google’s Nexus-branded watch might come as soon as October 31st alongside the official unveiling of Android 4.4 KitKat and possibly the Nexus 5. Although much of this information has already been reported, some new details were included in the report, such as the fact that “Google Now functionality would be at the center of the product.” Much of the heat Samsung received for the Gear related to the fact that the smartwatch just wasn’t that smart. It can only perform rudimentary tasks and provide very basic notifications. With that in mind, Google Now could make for a much more robust second screen experience.
Google isn’t afraid to take a chance on outlandish-seeming projects but the company’s next challenge might be its most daunting yet: It wants to make local news relevant again. Quartz reports that Google is testing out a new feature for its Google Now mobile application that will deliver users more local news based on wherever they’re located. Johanna Wright, Google’s vice president of search, tells Quartz that the company wants the new feature to help users learn more about their neighborhoods and potentially get more involved in their communities. More →
It looks like Google at last appears ready to integrate its Google Now personal assistant app into both its Chrome browser and Chrome operating system. CNET reports that “Google is making steady progress” in its quest to bring Google Now to more desktop users and has now added a flag to Chrome and Chrome OS “that lets people enable Google Now,” although the publication notes that the service isn’t connected to any of Google’s servers just yet. Google first debuted Google Now last year as an application that uses search history and location history to figure out what information users might need before they even ask for it. Examples include being able to tell users how long their typical commutes will be given current traffic conditions, and being able to figure out how long in advance users will have to leave for them to make appointments on time.
Apple has updated an earlier lawsuit filed against Samsung with claims that the Galaxy S4 and its Google Now feature violate two Apple patents covering functions of its own virtual personal assistant, Siri. Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents relayed news of the updated complaint on Wednesday, and he noted that two of the patents — U.S. Patent 8,086,604, and U.S. Patent 6,846,959 — cover technologies related to Siri. Both filings describe a “universal interface for retrieval of information in a computer system.” Apple also added three more patents to its earlier complaint that are not related to Siri, according to the report.
During what may be one of the longest keynotes in history, Google on Wednesday announced a number of new features for its core search product under the heading, “the end of search as we know it.” The company has updated its intelligent search feature “knowledge graph,” which now anticipates future searches based on past and current queries. So a search for “what is the population of India?” might also display the population of neighboring countries or all of Asia. Google search also now offers more personalized search results as well. For example, searching “what time is my flight?” will return an intelligent response based on flight confirmation emails in Gmail, even though the user did not offer any specific details in his or her query. More →
Google Now was probably the best thing to happen to mobile devices in 2012. Google’s brilliant virtual assistant uses location, search history and other data to automatically present users with information like the weather, driving directions to meetings and travel times, sports scores and more without any interaction required on the user’s part. After a long wait, iOS device users finally gained access to Google Now earlier this week when Google updated its iOS search app with Google Now functionality, but its arrival was marred by two problems: first, platform limitations on iOS and Google’s decision to forego push notifications make Now far less useful on Apple devices than it is on Android. Beyond that, an apparent bug in Google’s app is seemingly causing location services to stay on and drain users’ batteries. More →
Google’s award-winning intelligent personal assistant Google Now may be heading to the company’s homepage. The unofficial Google Operating System blog recently discovered the new feature mentioned in a series of code. Google Now is currently only available on Android smartphones and tablets running version 4.1 or later, and is rumored to be heading to iOS and Chrome in the near future. Adding Google Now to the company’s homepage will allow the feature to be utilized by billions of people worldwide. The source code suggests that Google Now on the Web will share the same features as on Android, allowing individuals to set a home and work location to show relevant information like weather, traffic conditions and nearby locations. Google could debut the new version of Google Now at its annual I/O Developers Conference on May 15th.
Itching to replace Siri with Google Now on your iPhone? Well, you might have to wait a while longer. TechCrunch reports that Google (GOOG) chairman Eric Schmidt on Thursday said that it was up to Apple (AAPL) on whether Google’s voice-enabled personal assistant application would make its way to the App Store anytime soon. When asked about Google Now coming to iOS at the Google Big Tent Summit in India this week, Schmidt responded that “you’ll need to discuss that with Apple” because “Apple has a policy of approving or disapproving apps that are submitted into its store, and some of them they approve and some of them they don’t.” In other words, it sounds as though the company has submitted Google Now to Apple for approval and that it’s currently waiting to see whether it gets approved. More →
Google Now, the voice-enabled personal assistant available on Android smartphones and tablets, may be making its way to the desktop. A new reference to the feature was discovered in the latest Chromium release, which gives users the ability to enable or disable the option. The feature is not yet available, however, and requires users to input the relevant — and secret — Google Now server information. Earlier reports indicated that Google (GOOG) was interested in expanding its virtual assistant beyond Android. The feature is listed to support Chrome for Windows and Chrome OS, although it is speculated that a Mac OS X release could also be in the works.
Google (GOOG) on Wednesday updated its Google Search application for devices running Android 4.1 and higher to include several new features. The application now offers a home screen and lock screen widget for Google Now, the company’s award-winning personal assistant, and also includes access to movie passes from Fandango, ratings and reviews from Rotten Tomatoes, real estate listings from Zillow, a new music button and support for U.S. college sports. The Google Search app is available for free from Google Play.
Google Now, the award-winning personal assistant/psychic stalker app that’s being pitched as a superior alternative to Siri, may be about to get its very own Android widget. AndroidCentral has spotted a reference to an in-development Google Now widget on a Google (GOOG) support page that goes right on users’ smartphone home screens and that gives them quick access to the information they most often request through the software. In the example shown on AndroidCentral, the widget displays the distance the user has to travel before arriving home, the weather at their current location and a stock ticker that displays Google’s share price. There’s no word on when this widget will be available but AndroidCentral speculates it will come through a manual update via the Google Play store.
As we’ve noted before, Google’s (GOOG) new voice-enabled personal assistant Google Now is one of the coolest new features on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and it’s received a lot of acclaim from around the tech world. And now, per Engadget, it looks like anyone with a desktop computer will soon be able to enjoy Google’s Siri killer right from within the Chrome web browser. More →