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This Video Reminds Us That We Hardly Use Google Now and Voice Search to the Extent of Their Abilities

google now voice search

Google Now and Voice Search have grown a lot over the last couple of years. Google has added in a ton of different searches that can be performed with your voice, many of which are likely not even getting used simply because people probably don’t know they exist. With videos such as the one below, an average user shows off a variety of the new searches that can be performed using your Android device, as long as it’s running Jelly Bean. 

For some example, conversational searches allow for a user to not have to repeat themselves when making inquiries. And we’re not talking about simply asking who the President and his wife are, we’re talking about starting with a city, moving onto its population, then mayor and wife – stringing numerous queries together. You’ll find that location-based reminders, finding photos in your G+ feed that were taken during recent trips, having Google show you indoor locations in Maps, or traffic in a nearby city, all can be accomplished with your voice.

These features aren’t necessarily new, but when you get down into the weirder searches and tasks you can perform, it reminds us that we have been barely using Google Now to its full potential.

Give the video below a watch and then go do some searches.

  • Anonymoused

    “I meant the Canadian one.”

  • Don Spilky

    Running 4.1.3, and reminders never seem to “remind” me! Any suggestions?

  • jaylanPHNX

    I just wish the music control was more extensive.

  • fritzo2162

    Voice control works fine for me. I just feel like an idiot talking to my phone in a public place. If I do and it doesn’t work, I feel like a double idiot.

  • rutgersjaffo

    Seriously, I just unchecked everything and no matter how many times I hit the mic or say whatever it just sits there and does nothing. THIS is why I never use it. Garbage app.

    • Run lagfix. turn your phone back off and on. then try google voice search. will work 100X better.

      • rutgersjaffo

        Thanks much but I am not rooted so I can’t use it.

    • WhiteKnightM

      Turn voice control on in your settings menu

      • rutgersjaffo

        Already on, not sure what the issue is. Rebooted today and it does actually seem to be working better. Meh, maybe I’m just an idiot.

      • rutgersjaffo

        Odd, after a restart the thing is now working like a charm. Good stuff, I stand corrected. Although it isn’t nearly as impressive on the wife’s razr. Of course that phone has been nothing but a disappointment from day one, but I digress.

  • Higher_Ground

    Yeah, voice control is still pretty slow on my gnex. Also, still kinda feel weird about talking to my phone like it’s a sentient being.

    • Same here with the Gnex. Maybe it’s time to get a Note 3?

  • Kelvin Tso

    Been using touchless control on the Maxx, pretty useful especially when driving.

  • Nar

    “Open YouTube” Takes awhile though…

  • n11

    I think my biggest wish is for it to talk back to me for every question/request I give it, unless I say “search for”

    Also, I’d recommend it being it cool if you could customize what you want to say to activate google now. So instead of saying “Ok google now”, you could say “Ok baby” or “Ok Google”, “Ok Search Engine”, “Ok Steve Jobs”, etc… With “ok” needing to be your starting word. You could enter the text you’d want to say first, then do the training session. I find mine doesn’t always get my saying.

    • zzz525

      You can with utter! beta that he displayed in this video

      • Justtyn Hutcheson

        utter! doesn’t utilize the VR subsystem, so you’d have to deactivate it to keep them from conflicting, which would pretty much destroy all the work Motorola did to get usable battery life with always-on listening. I have a feeling that the 4.3 update will have some solid improvements and enhancements to all of their systems. I just wish they’d give some clue as to when that might appear.

  • Christopher Heidt

    “…as long as it’s running Jelly Bean” is the key phrase (man, I need to stop using LG…)

  • dizel123

    And yet when I ask it to play me a song it simply brings up a web search for that song. “Google Now” should be “Google Someday” because hopefully someday it will work like I want it to.

    • KenBarnum

      You’re doing it wrong

      • dizel123

        Do I need to put a bumper case on it?

    • Justtyn Hutcheson

      “OK Google Now listen to *song name* by *artist*” tends to work for me more often than not. It also works much better with GPM than Spotify (surprise and shock, I know).

  • RXG9

    Is there a way to get google to send a text message without having to hit “send message” on the screen after you dictated it?

    • Hoffman

      I think they set it up that way so you can proofread the message in case the dictation was incorrect.

      • SchwannyT

        Ya but think of the “Damn you Autocorrect” text messages you could get from that!

    • Justtyn Hutcheson

      I don’t believe that they have set that up yet, unfortunately.

  • trwb

    Google apps produce a ton of wake locks on my devices. Got 75 wake locks in 34 secs with Google Now and location bases reminders dont work for me until I launch the app.

  • Denvertoad

    I wonder if it can find the answer to why “Google Services” continually drains my battery. About to pull my hair out. Any ROM but stock and my battery is shot to sh*t in twelve hours.

  • De Nguyen

    Google Now is not being use…maybe…just maybe because it SUCKS!
    I don’t want the name of the mayor of Amarillo while I’m driving, which is what a voice command is for, driving. I want to know what’s around me, which it SUCKS like a Dyson on juice.

  • R

    google voice search and the whole google speech to text SUCKS!!!!!!!!!!

    • sirmeili

      Does your name happen to be Barry Kripke?

  • sk3litor

    Dude wheres my car. Ha ha this is bunk. I could never perform any of these searches

  • Madejellybean

    How does google now open the Hotels Tonight app when he ask for a hotel, when I do it, it takes me to a google search page the the hotel tonight website. Also when I asked Wheres my car, it came up with a review for the movie Dude, Wheres my Car?

    • Jaxon Wright

      that uses Utter! a 3rd party app that’s still in beta

    • JLishere

      ‘Where’s my car’ will only work if you’ve previously saved your car location by saying ‘I parked my car’; otherwise Utter won’t know what to do.

  • emoney

    we’ve all been slacking, it’s time to step up our google now game

  • Droidzilla

    I think it’s cool that a Google employee (check out the address for his work; it’s Google’s Irvine office) is running Paranoid Android.

  • Taylor Abrahamson

    Can anyone get the TV show notifications to work? It doesn’t seems to understand my voice queues. I tried “Remind me to watch new episodes of the TV show the big bang theory” but it just brings up the standard reminder form, and asks me what time and day.

    • Jessie

      Try changing to use Google.com in your Gogole Now account settings – just search for Big Bang Theory and it should come up. This change is what caused it to work for me, anyway – it wasn’t working using local Google.

      • Taylor Abrahamson

        I’m not sure what you mean? I don’t see a google.com setting in the account settings.

      • Taylor Abrahamson

        Well apparently if I voice search for just the name of the tv show “The big bang theory” it popped up info about the show and had a remind me of new episodes button. But it sure seems like if there is an actual reminder action for it, then voice searching starting with “remind me to watch ___” should shortcut to that reminder.

  • Gr8Ray

    Ok, now show a video of someone using it while driving, without touching the screen – EVER. I found it frustratingly impossible to use in the car, trying to look up the number for a pizza place in the next town, and call in an order from the freeway.

    • Hoffman

      I do that all the time and have absolutely no problem.

  • Guest

    Google should really make some commercials showing this stuff. Imagine how many people have JB and don’t even know what Google Now really does. Plus they would blow those old Siri commercials out of the water.

    • sk3litor

      You mean android and oems actually showing off what is capable? No way. Thats reserved for apple. We’re too busy spending money on red headed leprechaun costumes. Too bad common senseisnt all that common.

    • Capt. Crunch

      They kinda already have, but I agree they could do a much better job http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pHuoDqcIyqk

    • Billy Buttons

      Yeah, I watched this and started trying a few of them out on my S4 next to my friend with an HTC One. After hearing what I was doing he’s like, “I have NOT been using my phone to its full potential!”

  • googlyeyedfrog

    these videos are so choreographed. I just went to Google Now on my GNEX running 4.3 and it has no answer to the majority of my questions.

  • googlyeyedfrog

    damn, that Nexus 4 sure does fly! Makes my GNEX on 4.3 look downright lazy

  • cgalyon

    I think Google Now will receive greater appreciation when a good smartwatch uses it

  • Jay W.

    What is the trick to see reminders once I have set them?

    • patrick

      launch google now, settings>my stuff>reminders

      • Jay W.

        Thank you sir!!

  • patrick

    so, maybe i missed something, but how does this person have an animated lockscreen wallpaper?

    • Abe Lincoln

      If you’re referring to the shot at 0:51 that got me for a minute too… but I’m fairly certain it’s just a very minimal home screen setup

      • patrick

        ahh, good catch. i know there are apps to use an animated gif as a wallpaer.

        • sk3litor

          Whats “gif”?

          • Chris

            its pretty much a animated image with 2-4 “frames” that replay on a loop. much like memes, they are annoying as f-

          • sk3litor

            Ohhhh ok I know what those are. I saw one on the site earlier today. Thanks dude.

          • redbar0n11

            I reallllly thought this was a joke about the whole “jif” / “gif” dispute thing hahahaha

          • sk3litor

            Ha ha no I’m just that computer lingo ignorant. That whole dispute went right over my head. Ha ha couldn’t even Google it cuz I didnt know how to reference it 🙂 still don’t know what zomg means. Zion occupied mass government? 😉

        • Larizard

          which apps?

        • chris420o

          be nice if android would NATIVELY SUPPORT GIF’s

          • chris420o

            sucha pet peeve of mine..if my friend from iphone land sends me a gif ina text i cant see it…like why….how hard is that to code?

    • sirmeili

      On my Gnex, when I set a live wallpaper to my device, it shows up as a live wallpaper on my lockscreen as well.

  • Kisuk3

    Pretty cool unless your Rahm Emanuel, then its kind of creepy.

  • Stuff

    I have yet to find a use for these for us boring people who don’t do cool things, or limit cool things to an easily remembered handful…

  • Goldenpins

    I enjoy using google now, but I did notice when connected to Wifi it has issues and seems to mess up more than when its on a data connection. I have yet to have problems on a networks data line but sometimes slower on Wifi or dictation messes up more. Which is nuts. I still use it everyday.

  • IrishSid

    non of this works in ireland

  • Metal_Link

    If only my current phone could keep up with my voice commands that I try to give it. 😛 Can’t wait for the next Nexus phone!

  • Hunter

    Still the best voice command system
    I use it nearly every day
    Really quick and snappy
    It actually works

    Sounds less robotic than competitors
    Ultimate app for any phone
    Crystal clear response voice
    King of voice command apps
    S I R I S U C K S!

    • fauxshizzl

      Was those terrible attempts at a haiku, or do you always type random sentences with no punctuation somewhat in the form of a paragraph?

      • Bryan

        It’s an acrostic, look it up.

        • fauxshizzl

          Oh snap. I am well aware what an acrostic is, but didn’t catch that one. Touchè sir.

  • Dagr

    I very much like the voice capabilities, but on my GNex, just bringing up Google Now is painfully slow (as is the wait for response to voice). This makes me really like the approach of the MotoX (having a dedicated voice processor).

    • Justtyn Hutcheson

      Only thing about the Moto X is the extra processing step wastes time. It would be great if it would just activate the Google Now voice search once the phone was on rather than running it through its own subsystem every time. But who knows, that may come in the 4.3 update.

      • jnt

        Can you elaborate? It sounds like you’re describing what it already does, but that’s why I think I’m misunderstanding you.

        • Justtyn Hutcheson

          On the Moto X, if you say “OK Google Now”, it activates the voice recognition subsystem no matter if the phone is on or sleeping. The subsystem then processes what you say, then sends it to Google voice search, which performs the search and then serves the answer.

          If the phone is already on, it is much faster to simply open Google Voice search, as there is no delay between getting the transcription and the search results, since Google Now performs those with one data send/receive operation rather than two.

          • Taylor Abrahamson

            The moto x isn’t sending out everything it hears all day long for processing. The sound processing is done on the device on it’s own chip that was made just for that purpose. Then once it recognizes your voice and that you want it to search, it hands the rest of your voice search directly to google now, so there is only one IP request being sent and that is the one that google now sends.

          • Justtyn Hutcheson

            It seems you are correct. Perhaps the pause between completing your speech and the Google voice search is the time it takes for the recording to be passed from the touchless control system to the app, but at this point that’s the only thing I can think of at this point.

            Regardless, my original point stands. Passing the voice data through the touchless control system while the phone is already on is a needless step that should be removed if possible, which I’m certain it is.

          • Morten Lund

            Yes you are to some degree right. But even when the phone is on the voice recognition subsystem is still running leaving the main CPU to do it’s thing. The same with the contextual chip that manages all sensor work.

          • Justtyn Hutcheson

            That is what keeps battery consumption low, which is great. However, they could use the contextual information to know when the device’s screen is on, and then alter the voice system’s behavior such that it immediately activates Google voice search, rather than recording/processing the voice input then passing it to the search app. That’s all I’m saying. It is great as is, but I’m one that always wants to find the little ways to make large improvements, and in my opinion that’s one area that would work.

          • Morten Lund

            Your right it would be a very neat solution. A small change to Google Now could activate the same function that works (if activated) by listening for the phrase “Google” (my search field in GN says “Search, or say Google”) post search as to activate the voice search function again by just saying “Google” and only using Thouchless Control to do the initial launch. Though I have seen people do the conversation style Google Now interaction using a Moto X and only Thouchless Control. Not perfect I know but still impressive.

          • Taylor Abrahamson

            Let me try to explain things better for you.

            The moto x has a chip that listens to all sound all the time when the phone is awake or asleep. When the sound processor detects that you said the keyword it launches google now and gives it the rest of your sentence. It must happen that way due to a software / hardware limitation. Here is why:

            Computers are much slower at analyzing sensory data that has ‘noise’ like video and audio. It has to analyze whole chunks at a time. By the time the sound processor records you say “google” then processes it, you’ve already finished most of the rest of your sentence. So there is just flat out not enough time to launch google now and have google now ‘listen’ to the rest of your sentence. It MUST record what you’ve said, then pass it to google now. Remember, Google Now does not actively listen to audio unless you’ve just launched voice search, or you have clicked the microphone button after having already done a voice search in GNow. At all other times the special motorola processor must listen for the audio queue, then pass GNow what you said.

            For right now, that is the only way it’s going to happen. Android is open source, motorolas custom sound process chip and software is not. So Google can’t tell other device manufactores to build in a new hardware chip into all other phones for the purpose of making the active voice recognition work for all android devices. For now at least, motorola has that patent, and wont be sharing it. All Google did was add a method in their API to allow 3rd party software to pass GNow an audio clip to parse. And that is what Motorola has done.

            As of today, what you’re asking for, can’t be done, which is why it wasn’t done.

    • htowngtr

      Yea, if this guy was using a moto X then that explains why it basically flew threw the commands. Hell, even the “google” voice activation word was extremely quick. My HTC One doesn’t go nearly that fast.

      • Justtyn Hutcheson

        It says at the end he was using a Nexus 4 with Paranoid Android v. 3.99

        A Moto X would probably be a hair slower, but would wake from any state. Utter is great while the device is running, but even the developer admits that always-on listening is a massive battery drain.

        • Pengwn

          Why the downvotes? Everything this man has said is factual information. I love the Moto X and might be picking one up(it all depends on when the ATT exclusive is over with and if the next nexus is on verizon) but it’s been proven that the Moto X takes an extra step in the search function. It’s that extra step that causes that slight, and read slight, delay when doing a voice search.

    • Chris

      Voice search on my Galaxy Nexus was unbearably slow too, I stopped using it. I got my Nexus 4 a couple months ago and voice search absolutely flies on it. I get no hesitation at all. It’s definitely the processing power of the GNex causing the slowness.

      • Justtyn Hutcheson

        Same with my Razr. Even the voice typing is unusable if there is anything running at all.

    • ya i pretty much cant even use google now without a major slowdown on my gnex. itching for a new phone but waiting for latest nexus announcement.

    • Drcashman

      Try “Shiny” JWR66Y Android 4.3. Google now is very fast on it. Very little to no slowdown on this rom.

    • Andy Stetson

      I’m running Carbon ROM’s latest 4.3 nightly, and everything, including Google Now is super fast (vzw GNex). It’s amazing how much TRIM helps keep the phone from bogging down.

    • ynksbsbll2

      Go to Google Now –> Settings –> Phone search –> Uncheck everything in here. This makes Google Now almost instant on my Gnex

      • Gr8Ray

        Wow, that sped it up nicely on mine! It’s almost instant now (I left Music and Contacts checked). Thanks!

        • psuturtle

          that’s impressive….just unchecking the browser stuff alone sped it up a lot.

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            paid for the mortgage on their apartment and bought a great new Aston Martin
            DB5. we looked here, http://www.bay35.ℂℴm

          • kimberly537

            My Uncle Dominic got an awesome year old Chevrolet Express Cargo Van by working part time off of a macbook air. you can try these out w­w­w.J­A­M­20.c­o­m

          • ralph

            you are a whore

          • rutgersjaffo

            I can’t believe my comment got deleted because I referred to *myself* as an idiot.

      • HellRa1SeR

        Thanks mate.!!

      • Whitney

        Ah thanks so much, it’s so much better now! Solved one of my top annoyances about Galaxy Nexus and I didn’t ever use this to search for things on my phone anyways.

    • David Molina

      SERIOUSLY. I thought no one else felt my pain.

  • Russell Sprague

    does the conversation search work on the moto x with touchless?

  • Jeff C

    for the reminders, does GPS need to be on?

    • Justtyn Hutcheson

      only for location-based reminders. time-based and generic reminders work just fine.

    • miri

      No, it uses wifi/cellular for location reporting.

  • thedonxr

    Wonder if that is the new Nexus, OK Google from lockscreen!?!?! HypeBeast!

    • htowngtr

      Probably a Moto X

    • DiegoKokomo

      Watch the end of the video…”demoed on the Nexus 4″