Residents of Cape Town were treated to sights of a robot dog walking through the CBD as Dwyka Mining Services showcased Boston Dynamic’s Spot….
Voice assistants are all the rage now but, alongside Siri, Google Now has played a major role in the current trend of smart, voice-enabled apps.
There are loads of commands, queries and questions you can pose Google’s effort, but which ones are worth noting? We already know commands like texting/calling contacts, weather forecasts and trivia answers, but here are some more interesting ones.
Find sports scores
Google doesn’t care about the sports I like (MMA, Formula 1), but did you know you can ask it about scores/results for more traditional fare?
“Who won Euro 2016?” or “what’s the score between England and Pakistan?” will serve up relevant information. Now, about those UFC results…
Reminders and alarms
Reminders are one of the most obvious yet useful applications for Google Now, as you simply say “remind me to do X” to get it done.
Alarms can also be set by saying “wake me up at 6am” for instance, or “wake me up in an hour”. Simple yet effective.
Need to view your list of reminders and alarms? Then a quick “show me my alarms/reminders” will do.
Sure, Shazam and Soundhound are rather fantastic music-recognition apps, but did you know Google Now can do this as well?
Simply ask “what song is this?” to have Google Now listen and spit out a result.
In another nifty music-related command, you can ask the service to play a track or artist too. Just use something like “play New Noise” or “play The Killers“.
View your photos and specific photos
Google Now also harnesses Google Photos to deliver some impressive voice search functionality for your photo albums.
Looking for those Camps Bay snaps? Then you’ll need to say “show me my photos from Camps Bay”. Easy stuff. What about photos from last week? Just say “show me my photos from last week” and you’re sorted.
You can go above and beyond this too, such as “show me my photos with dogs in it” to get just that. Not 100% accurate (it showed a squirrel too) but rather cool anyway.
Toggle your flashlight (and more)
It wasn’t available at launch, but Google Now lets you toggle various system settings, such as WiFi, Bluetooth, the flashlight and a few more variables.
All you need to do is say “turn on the flashlight” or “turn off my WiFi” to enable/disable those settings. It’s possible to say “take a selfie” to fire up the camera, but the app doesn’t switch to the front-facing camera though (at least not on our test device).
Open your apps
Don’t feel like navigating to your desired app? Or maybe you have too many installed on your phone? Either way, Google Now is here to help as well.
Want to launch WhatsApp? Then a “open WhatsApp” or “launch WhatsApp” will do the job for you.
Get your travel details
Got travel information in your Gmail inbox? Then Google Now can present these when you ask for it.
A “show me my travel information for December” query will deliver travel details such as scheduled flights and hotel bookings.
What if you suspect your flight is delayed? Then asking “is my flight on time?” will show you the status — provided that the booking info/ticket is in your inbox.
Track your packages
Another interesting Google Now feature is its ability to track your packages. Much like flight information, you’ll need tracking details in your email inbox to facilitate this.
So if you’ve ordered something off Takealot or Raru and received those emails, a quick “where’s my package?” will show you its status.
Did you know that Google Now offers translation services via Google Translate?
The voice command is rather spotty, and I found it wouldn’t translate sentences such as “What is German for ‘eat’?” but would translate “What is ‘eat’ in German?”. Your mileage may vary.
Find the closest sushi restaurants (or whatever you prefer)
Google Now passively recommends eateries already via its card system, but you can use voice commands as well.
On the hunt for some tamales? Then asking “are there any Mexican restaurants nearby?” will deliver the goods. What about Chinese fare? Well, ask “are there any Chinese restaurants nearby?” and it’ll produce results.
Find emails from a certain contact
Gmail inboxes can be a nightmare to navigate, but the ability to search for emails from certain contacts might help.
“Show me emails from Graham,” generally shows you emails mentioning “Graham”. So not the most helpful solution, but still worth considering if you’re looking for a specific mail.
Do you know of any more useful Google Now voice commands? Let us know in the comments section!