As announcements continue to trickle out during Google I/O we continue to bring you updates on the awesome things that are coming soon to your favorite Web service. Here we fill you in on updates to Google Search.
Voice Search Is Coming to Your Desktop
You’ve been able to speak to Google Search (like, out loud) using your mobile devices for some time now simply by tapping the mic icon on the Google search bar. Like some kind of Star Trek-inspired dream, you’ll soon be able to talk to Google on your desktop, too–and Google will answer you!
Planning a beach getaway for the weekend? Soon you can ask Google, hands-free, “Google, my best bud, will it be sunny in Santa Cruz this weekend?” After Google tells you, yes, it looks like a beautiful weekend, feel free to continue the conversation and ask Google, “How far is it from here?” Search will be like the all-knowing, Yoda-like best friend we all wish we had. You know it’s true.
Improvements to the Knowledge Graph
Google is determined to give you the best answers possible using Knowledge Graph, Google’s map of real-world people, places, and things. As updates roll out you’ll receive more intelligent answers to questions like, “What’s the population of Canada?” Not only will Google answer your question but you also get an answer to the next few follow-up questions people often ask. In a single card, you’ll see how Canada’s population changed over time–and a comparison with California and Australia. If that’s something you’re interested in.
Knowledge Graph is also dishing out smarter answers for more languages, so if you like to search in Polish, Turkish, and Traditional and Simplified Chinese, this just might be your day.
Even Better Reminders with Google Now
One of the things I’m most excited for on this first day of I/O is the update to Google Now. For those unfamiliar with the service, Google Now is a mighty handy tool available on mobile devices. By using your location information, the time of day, and preferences, Google Now offers you “cards” that help you move through your daily tasks. For example, the I can’t get enough of is one for public transportation; when I open Google on my phone, a card pops up to show me the next buses and trains leaving from my area.
Google aims for their cards to provide you with “just the right information at just the right time.” With Google’s updates, cards are now even more useful than before. You can now set reminders to pop up just when you need them, whether that means they’re triggered by the time on your clock or by your location. For example, you can set a reminder to buy milk and toothpaste that pops up just when you leave work (perfect for the forgetful spouse).
But Google Now is not all about running errands. Now cards can also alert you when the books or albums you’re most excited about are released or even provide you recommendations. And don’t forget—with Search’s voice capability you can set some of these reminders simply by speaking to your device.
Google Now is available on Android devices running Jelly Bean 4.1 or higher as well as iPhones and iPads.
Before these updates the only thing we used to say to our computers was, “Hurry up, damn it!” But with Google’s new search capabilities and cards I have the feeling we’ll soon have a lot more to say to our laptops and phones.
Tell us: which updates are you most excited for at Google I/O?