The Google app for Android — the app that handles your voice searches, Google Now Updates and more — is getting an update today that brings Google’s new Material Design user interface to the app for devices that already run Android Lollipop (that is, the Nexus 6 and Nexus 9 at this point). The update also introduces a number of new features that will be available on any Android phone (running Jellybean and up) that will make the app smarter and more useful in general.
Given that all of Google’s mobile apps are currently getting the Material Design update, it’s no surprise that the company’s flagship app is getting the same treatment now, too.
What’s actually more interesting is that the app is also getting a little bit smarter. One of the new features — powered by the same technology that also makes Google Now possible — is Google’s ability to monitor your email for messages related to plans you are making with your friends or colleagues but that don’t involve a formal calendar invite. When Google notices those, it’ll now bring up a prompt in the Google app that asks if you want to be reminded of that “dinner with Alex” you were planning for tonight.
That’s a pretty nifty new feature, but as so often, that also depends on how you feel about Google learning more and more about you and your daily habits from (optionally) crawling your Gmail account.
The other new feature (though one the company previously announced) is that you can now use voice search to look for content in third-party apps. “Ok Google, search Tumblr for ‘Things Organized Neatly,'” is Google’s example for this, but other apps like TripAdvisor, TuneIn, Trulia and YouTube have also launched their integrations with the Google app. Developers can add support for this to their apps without too much effort, so chances are we will see quite a few more apps that support this feature in the near future.
And if you just can’t figure out what to do tonight because life is giving you more options than you can handle, Google now allows you to say “OK Google, flip a coin,” and Google will give you something to do (how about watching Interstellar tonight?)