Part of Android M is a major enhancement to Google Now, Google’s smart-as-hell automated assistant service, called Now on Tap. With Google Now on Tap, the new piece to the Now puzzle, you can get Google Now help from almost anywhere with a simple long press of your phone’s home button, allowing you to multi-task from any screen without having to leave what you are currently doing. (more…)
Quietly over on the Android Developers Google+ page, Google announced custom voice actions today for third party apps. They are currently piloting this new integration with select partners like NPR and Shazam, but are actively seeking additional app developers to join in on the fun. (more…)
Back in January, Google announced that it was allowing 3rd party apps to work with Google Now for the first time; 40 of them to be exact. This was huge news because it meant that your favorite non-Google apps could start to give you relevant, perfectly timed information in your Google Now stream just as you need it, in the way that Google attempts to do with transit info, the weather, and your travel plans. Today, they expanded the program by allowing another 70 new partners to get in on the fun. (more…)
Folks who utilize Google Photo’s auto backup will begin to see new Stories pop up directly through Google Now. To explain, if you take enough photos at any given time, Google will throw those photos into a Story, then put music and effects to it. Moving forward, these Stories will appear in Google Now for easy access, where as before, you would receive a notification through the Google Photos app. (more…)
That title isn’t clickbait. I’m not even kidding with this one. You can say “send a Hangouts message” in Google Now, with your voice, and it will actually send a message in Hangouts with your voice. I don’t know when this went live, but it’s live. It will ask who you want to send it to, then what your message is, before confirming that you want to send. We aren’t talking SMS here – this is legitimate Hangouts messaging with your voice.
You still think I’m joking, I know. I get why you would think that I’m joking. Seriously, though, go try it.
Smartwatches are back in the news again thanks to Apple’s latest event, and it has me thinking about a topic that I am tired of thinking about. It’s not necessarily that I don’t want a smartwatch or that I can’t see their prospective usefulness, but rather, much of the press seems to be going through the motions of gazing out at the distant future and hoping it appears on the latest wearable.
Almost everyone seems to agree that Apple failed to provide a story for the product, or the ideal reason why we should want an Apple Watch, which has led to some people remaining skeptical until they try it and others waxing on about how it, unlike Android Wear, is going to change everything. It’s that second group that I’m growing weary of. I keep hearing stories about how the Apple Watch is going to save so much time, and how it will enable us to be more personable since we won’t be looking at our phones anymore, and how it will remove friction from our lives when we use our watch for everything.
Are smartwatches really the thing that will make us better conversationalists, use our phone less, and get more work done? Let’s take a look at some of the promises we have been hearing about smartwatches and examine just how viable they are. (more…)