Google is rolling out an update to its Google Search for Android app today, and with this, it is introducing a number of new features for Google Now as well.
Google Now already tells you to leave for work so you can arrive on time, and it will now do the same thing for your trips to the airport, event and dinner reservations. Basically, any Google Now card that used to only remind you when you needed to be somewhere (flights, calendar events with locations and times, restaurant reservations, movie and concert tickets) can now also tell you when you should leave to get there on time. You’ll be able to specify whether you’re taking public transport or driving, and how early you would like to arrive (which comes in pretty handy when you’re driving to the airport).
In addition to this, Google’s voice recognition feature now lets you make calls and send texts. Just say “call John” or “send text to my brother” and the app will pull the right contact up for you. If you have a few John’s in your contacts, it will check who you want to call and if you have multiple numbers, it will ask you about that, too.
As Google has previously said, it wants to be your personal assistant. And just like some of its other voice features, these new features allow you to have a relatively complex interaction with your device without ever touching the keyboard.
Other new features in this release include a new Google Now card for the Sochi Olympics, with easy access to medal standings, news and upcoming events.
The team has also increased the number of languages users can use to set reminders by voice in Google Now. The app now supports, French, German, Japanese or Korean, so if you feel inclined to do so (and you are in Germany), you can now say “Erinnere mich daran um 12 Uhr Rolf anzurufen” and Google will indeed remind you of your call at noon.