Ever been in front of a restaurant and wondered when it opened, but didn’t want to bother with pulling out your phone, searching for its name in an app, then scrolling through information to find out its business ours? Or maybe you were standing in a park, looking at a monument and wondering just how tall that statue was? What about that lake in front of you, how deep is it? Google can answer questions like these for you, even if you don’t know the name of the restaurant, park, monument, or lake. With their recently launched (and unannounced) location-aware search, you can ask Google things about items nearby and based on your location, will give you answers. (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…)
On Friday, we broke word that you were one step away from being able to control your Nest Thermostat using your voice in the Google Search app. As of this morning, the feature is live (pictured above). That’s right, the opt-in authorization pages that were 404-ing on Friday are now letting you move through to give “Works with Nest” the approval it needs in order to work with Google. (more…)
Update: It’s now live!
Shortly after Google acquired smartphone company, Nest, the thermostat and smoke alarm maker announced a “Works with Nest” program that would enable all sorts of smart products to interact with those made by Nest. Of course, the most obvious partner in this program is Google. In the announcement, Nest noted that this “Fall” we would be able to say to our phones, “OK, Google, set the temperature to 72 degrees,” or something along those lines and watch as our Nest changed temperatures. While we have yet to see this integration fully appear, it does look as though we are about one step away from it becoming a reality. (more…)
The video above is currently making the Interwebz rounds this morning, showing a tenacious gentleman who has programmed his home’s tech and lighting to be completely controlled by his voice. Using apps like Tasker for his Google TV and VeraLite controllers for the lighting, he is able to set the mood in his living room with a single phrase. Trust me, you need to watch this. (more…)
A major Google Search update just hit the Google Play store for devices running Android 4.1+ (Jelly Bean). The update introduces a handful of new cards for Google Now along with some new voice actions. You will now see Now cards for events happening nearby, suggestions to help with research, boarding passes (United only for now), weather for upcoming travel destinations, and more. On the voice actions side of things, you can tell your phone to post to Google+, ask what song is playing, and have your phone to scan a barcode.
Go grab it! (more…)
Utter!, a voice actions Android app that we covered months ago, went into beta today, and then entered the Google Play store. While we normally roll our eyes at the never-ending string of Siri knock-off style apps that have come to our favorite mobile platform, Utter! is quite different. It’s creator had one focus – to make Utter! “super functional and fast.” (more…)
Once running under the codename “Majel,” Google has reportedly settled on an official name for their Siri-like competitor. That name is Assistant. Most of the dirty details surrounding this service are a mystery, however, TechCrunch believes it to be more of a “Do Engine” that would help you achieve real-life goals rather than something that will simply return search results.
According to their sources, the Android team has taken this project on with search engineer Amit Singhal to attempt to gather the world’s knowledge into a format that a computer can understand. They also want to make the service adhere to your personal life more, potentially using services like Google+ and +1 to help understand how people interact socially.
Unlike Siri though, Google will provide developers with the opportunity to tie in their products to Assistant, a move that could make the service unlike any other. Siri will always be bound to Apple’s vision, while Assistant could grow thanks to outside influences and innovators.
Google big wigs are look at a Q4 2012 unveiling of the product. While that seems so far off in the distance, remember that Google I/O with an additional 3rd day is happening in June. If Assistant is indeed launching this year, you have to imagine that we will see some sort of preview during that week. Also, Q4 is when we will likely see Jelly Bean or Android 5.0.