// Google Now

Learn more about Google Now, and how you can use it to or­ga­nize your life.

HWM (Malaysia) - - CONTENTS - TEXT // LEO BOON YEOW

Google Now is al­ways there in your phone, and could be a great help -- if only you knew how to use it. It's not par­tic­u­larly dif­fi­cult to use, but it does re­quire some get­ting used to. Here's a guide to help you get ac­quainted with your new best friend.

1. WHAT IS GOOGLE NOW?

Google Now is an in­tel­li­gent vir­tual as­sis­tant em­bed­ded into Google Search, within the An­droid mo­bile op­er­at­ing sys­tem. It gath­ers in­for­ma­tion (from your search his­tory, mails that you re­ceive, etc.) dis­cretely, and makes smart pre­dic­tions of what in­for­ma­tion you'd need, be­fore you ask for it. Th­ese pre­dic­tions or “sug­ges­tions” are dis­played as cards within Google Now, and are small snip­pets of in­for­ma­tion one can con­sume in sec­onds.

For ex­am­ple, when it senses that it's time for you to get to work, Google Now will in­form you, via a traf­fic card, of how long it takes to get to work, based on where you live, where you work, and the day's traf­fic in­for­ma­tion. You can then use all this in­for­ma­tion to help plan and or­ga­nize your day more ef­fi­ciently. You're also able to uti­lize Google Now to fetch lo­cal­ized in­for­ma­tion, which is ex­cep­tion­ally handy when trav­el­ing to for­eign cities.

2. VOICE SEARCH

You can still search us­ing text, but Google now supports voice search, which is much more con­ve­nient. Users with de­vices run­ning the lat­est An­droid 4.4 soft­ware (a.k.a. Kit Kat) are now able to search sim­ply by ut­ter­ing “Ok Google” to their An­droid de­vice in Google Now. If you're not run­ning Kit Kat, don't worry; hit the mi­cro­phone icon at the right hand cor­ner of the search bar to start search­ing.

Th­ese com­mands can be spo­ken any way you'd like, but it'll be much less con­fus­ing if you ask it a ques­tion like you would to another per­son. To avoid con­fus­ing Google Now, you can sim­ply say the key words in your query. Take note how­ever, that Google Now only rec­og­nizes a hand­ful of lan­guages in­clud­ing English (not Singlish, un­for­tu­nately), French, Ger­man, Span­ish, Ja­panese and Ital­ian for now.

Be­low is a list of in­for­ma­tion types you can search for, as well as ex­am­ples on how to use them:

• Weather - Weather for Tokyo tomorrow

• Lo­ca­tions - Where is Ar­ti­choke

Restau­rant?

• Nav­i­ga­tion - Get to Ar­ti­choke Restau­rant

•Flight Sta­tus - When does SQ175 de­part?

• Time - Time in Tokyo now

• Events - When is sun­set in Tokyo?

• Math - Mul­ti­ply 20 by 30

• Trans­la­tion - Say “Prawns” in Thai

• Sports - Scores for Arse­nal game

last week

• Fi­nance - SPH stocks to­day

• Con­ver­sions - Thai baht to Sin­ga­pore dol­lars

• Im­ages - Show me pic­tures of the Taj Ma­hal

3. VOICE AC­TION COM­MANDS

Be­sides fetch­ing an­swers to your queries, Google Now also has the Voice Ac­tion Com­mand fea­ture that gets things done for you on your An­droid de­vice. All you have to do is speak to it, and let it know ex­actly what you need it to do. This is a list of com­mands that Google Now rec­og­nizes, and how you can use them.

“Open...” - Open­ing Apps

You can get Google Now to open any app in your An­droid de­vice, sim­ply by say “open” fol­lowed by app name. For ex­am­ple, say­ing “Open Gmail” opens up the Gmail app.

“Cre­ate cal­en­dar event...” - Cal­en­dar en­try

Fol­low up on the com­mand with the type of event, date and time (ex­am­ple: Din­ner in Chi­na­town, Mon­day at 8pm), and Google Now will be smart enough to sep­a­rate the data and into the ap­pro­pri­ate fields.

“Note to self...” - Tak­ing notes

The “note to self” com­mand will record the text that comes af­ter, and save the note to the note tak­ing app of your choice (Google Keep, Gmail, Ever­note, etc.).

“Send email to...” - Send email or mes­sages

Right af­ter the com­mand, say out the re­cip­i­ent's name, as well as the sub­ject and mes­sage. For ex­am­ple, “Send email to James, sub­ject note­book, mes­sage this note­book is ter­ri­ble” If you're do­ing it on a mo­bile phone, you can also use this com­mand to send SMS mes­sages.

“Set alarm for...” - Set­ting alarm

This com­mand by­passes quite a few clicks to in­stantly set an alarm for you. It's even smart enough to know what alarm app you use, so the alarm is set us­ing the right app.

“Call...” - Call­ing peo­ple

Call any­one your ad­dress book with the “call” com­mand, fol­lowed by the per­son's name. Un­for­tu­nately, it doesn't do well with lo­cal names like “Vi­jay,” or “Boon Yeow” but works great with English names like “Jimmy” or “David”.

Trav­el­ers will ap­pre­ci­ate Google Now's very use­ful weather cards, that hold ac­cu­rate weather in­for­ma­tion from their lo­ca­tion.

Look­ing for lo­ca­tions of your fa­vorite restau­rants is much eas­ier. The cards con­tain cru­cial in­for­ma­tion like ad­dresses and even re­views.

Google Now has ac­cess to ev­ery­thing Google has, so search­ing for im­ages faster and eas­ier than do­ing it on your desk­top or lap­top.

Google Now keeps you up to date quickly with in­for­ma­tion that you care about, like sports scores and stock prices.

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