We’re hanging out with Mrs. The Droid Lawyer’s mom and dad, who each recently acquired a new Samsung Galaxy Note 2 and Samsung Galaxy S4, respectively.
As newbies to the wonderful world of Android 4.2, Mrs. The Droid Lawyer’s parents are also discovering the wonderful world of Google Now.
For other newbies, Google Now is Android’s answer to Siri. But not quite Siri. The main purpose of Google Now is to provide information and help perform tasks that will increase your productivity on your smartphone or tablet. Unfortunately though, if you’re using a pre-Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0) device, you’re not eligible for Google Now. Go upgrade your phone.
If you haven’t played around with Google Now, it’s time to get active. I suggest you read this post or this post for more information about Google Now, and then check out my favorite Google Now features
1. Quick and easy navigation
I love that Google Now recognizes information from my Google Calendar and displays the information as a Google Now card. I’m particularly pleased that Google Now can give me directions to appointments quickly with the click of a simple button. I just enter the location address and Google Now tells me when, where, and how to get there. More importantly, Google Now can alert me as to what time I need to leave to get to the appointment on time.
2. Text or call with the sound of my voice
If you run the Google Now app, you’ll find that you can call, email, or send text messages to contacts with the sound of your voice. Just say, “Google, call John Doe” or “Google, text Jane Smith”, and Google Now makes it happen. Remember, as long as the app is running, Google Now will listen for your voice and perform your command.
Here’s a full list of Google Now’s voice commands: http://goo.gl/XyP6e.
Note: voice commands work outside of Google Now in the Voice Search app. However, Voice Search utilizes the Google Now engine to perform some of its functions.
3. Reminders and alarms
I’m trying to be more proactive about creating lists and actually performing the tasks on the list. I’m still not good, but with Google Now, I’m slightly better. This improvement comes because I use voice commands to create small tasks (such as “remember to buy milk”) rather than enormous lists.
Google Now presents the reminders, and I can quickly accomplish the tasks.
I can also use the same method to set alarms.
4. Emergency alerts
I have two emergency alerts apps on my phone: OnGuard Weather Alerts and Google Now.
Google Now tends to be slightly faster than OnGuard, but both keep me abreast of changing severe weather in my region. Read this post for more information on Google Now’s emergency alerts.
5. Information overload
Google Now is literally information central for my Android device. With over 20 different cards and the power of Google search, Google Now gives me the information I want. More importantly, it’s not intrusive.
I can pick what information I want to see and how often I want it.
Pro tip: if you’re starting with Google Now, I suggest that you enable every card, then decide which ones you’d rather turn off. My guess is that you’ll probably leave them all enabled, since they’re not too intrusive.
Power to the people
You’re guaranteed to find tantalizing tidbits of information with each Google Now card. I love the beautiful design and the over-abundance of information. Whether it’s the weather, my San Francisco Giants, directions to a meeting, or preparing for a severe storm, Google Now keeps me informed.