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Google Now doesn’t need Android L to get awesome new features

Published Jun 26th, 2014 2:35PM EDT
Google Now Update: Lock Screen and Multi-language

Google’s voice-based virtual assistant has gotten even smarter this week, as Google issued a new Google Search update that brings some cool new features to Google Now. Android Police reveals that Google Now will work on any screen now, including the lock screen. Users can simply configure Google Now to work on any screen by going the “Ok Google Detection” menu on their devices.

Even better than that, Google Now will recognize queries across languages, meaning that users will be able to move back and forth between up to seven languages when talking to Google, once they set them up. Of the 52 spoken languages it supports, Google Now “finally gained the ability to switch between up to seven languages on the fly, like a proper multilingual robot,” CNET reports.

Google told the publication that it’s working on even more advanced Google Now features for the future, with the assistant expected to be able to tell apart adults and children voices in the following couple of years, while in the next five years computers will be able to recognize the voice of a child as well as a human.

“Speech and input modalities are very difficult” for Google Now to recognize children between 3 years and 10 years old, voice-recognition lead staff software engineer Johann Schalkwyk said. “They’re learning to enunciate better; they don’t always speak grammatically; they yell at the phone; they hyper-enunciate — ‘DIE-no-saur.’”

Google is also working on improving speech recognition in noisy surroundings and in “far field environments” – where the distance from the person speaking to the device is too large for Google Now to work.

The new Google Search 3.5.14 update should already be available to Android users, although it can also be manually downloaded from Android Police.

Chris Smith
Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he closely follows the events in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises. Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.