Google Now update brings more cards, voice actions and more


Google has been busy today, it seems, as it has had to launch three new devices despite Hurricane Sandy limiting their ability to do so at a live unveiling event. Now the efforts have been taken to the Google Play Store where Google Now is seeing an upgrade. A lot of new changes have been made with this new version.

For starters, we’ve got new voice actions that will allow you to set a meeting entry in your calendar, pull up your next meeting/appointment at any given time, and launch apps. There are also new cards for nearby attractions and photo spots, movies opening in nearby theaters, concerts going on, and more.

Even more, Google Now now works with Gmail (but it’s English only for now), supports flights, restaurant reservations, hotel confirmations, events, packages scheduled to be shipped to you and more.

Personally I’ve only gotten the new calendar features, Gmail and the package tracking to work. I have WWE 13 headed my way tomorrow morning via Amazon and Google Now sent me a notification as soon as I updated the Google Search app letting me know its status.

I’m not sure if the status updates are real time yet so I’ll have to wait for it to change in the wee hours of the morning to see how that goes. Finally, the Gmail integration allowed me to send an email to a contact without having to type a word.

As for the rest I haven’t been able to get them going just yet but I’ll see what I can do to trigger some of these new cards and automatic notifications. In the meantime be sure to get your upgrade from the Google Play Store and let us know which new features you were able to use and see.

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. Im liking what google now offers. cant wait for more from it

  2. still dont understand why they couldnt bring it to ics. i mean, xda devs did it. maybe google should hire some of them

    1. It’s so you’ll want the latest hardware running the latest OS, probably not much more to it than that.

  3. What are the voice actions?
    Only managed to set up a new meeting and call a contact… I expected a lot more!
    Would be great if it would allow to ~control the phone only with your voice !

    1. I was able to use “email [name of contact] [message]” and it populated everything correctly. For appointments, I did “schedule meeting with [contact name] at [time/day]” then it took me to the calendar to add the entry as requested. The Google Now app might have more syntax you can use to more clearly define the entries.

  4. How do you set it to track packages? Is there a place where it details how to use all the new features?

    1. It automagically integrates w/ your Gmail when you upgrade. It will look for emails w/ tracking info. Look in the Settings in Now.

    2. It was automatic for me. Make sure it’s enabled in the Google Now settings. Also, some of the Google Now cards require actual travel so unless you drive near a theater or what have you, that particular card might not pop up.

    3. I doubt it’ll be as useful as is, but I’ll give it a shot anyway.

  5. i think google now is a set back from the way the voice search worked previously…before i was able to say (call local business) and it would call.. now it just brings it up as a google search and i need to click thru 5 different things to make the call… bullshit

    1. I did this exact thing this morning using Google Now on my Gnex – with my handsfree on I pressed the button to open google now, it took me straight to voice search.

      I said “Call Racer Industries” – it then popped up a card showing the business name, their address, a map and phone number – it then automatically called them for me.

  6. Wait!! So how does Google know you had a packaged shipped? Who is telling them this? LoL!! I’m more curious how it works rather than the fact that they know this.

    1. My guess is because Google Now is linked with Gmail. If you have a package being shipped most likely the tracking # is in your email. Now if you have exchange on your phone and you were having something shipped and you were receiving shipping notifications through exchange, I’d be curious if you still get Google Now updates

    2. A lot of people copy tracking numbers into google to check the status, and it’ll probably just remember that info (same as it does for travel if you so choose)

    3. probably because everyone gets a gmail confirmation on packages and tracking #s are usually in a very specific format so google can parse your mail content to figure it out. In the cards settings there are options to be notified when you get an email confirmation.

    4. If you go into settings you can give it access to search your gmail. Gmail and Chrome already recognize things that look like confirmations, flights and tracking numbers. So its just recognizing the tracking number in the email and using it to populate the shipping card.

  7. Google Now is still lacking college sports teams.

    1. I know it sucks. I think it’s an NCAA blocked thing. I.e. there is a money/advertising/legal issue Is suspect.

  8. I want the new camera app O.o when do we get 4.2? On Nexus 4/10 launch date ?

  9. it also got Birthday reminders, stocks, photo spots, concerts, News and a few other small things

  10. Great. Now if JB only ran on more than 4 devices maybe this would be useful!

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  12. You can open apps with the new Search function, too. Here are a few that I have gotten to work:
    “open Calendar”
    “open Camera”
    “open Gallery”
    “open Gmail”
    “open Google Maps” (saying “Open Maps” only doesn’t work)
    “open Earth”
    “open Instagram”
    “open Messaging”

    1. It is cool but takes longer than doing it manually

  13. I was able to launch the calculator app via voice but not google talk or nfl fantasy football in playing around. It did recognize the launch keyword for those, but took me to a search result instead.

  14. Google Now’s full functionality now available in all Apple iPhones as the Google Search app…

    How about Google Now on Gingerbread and ICS…Google sux!

    1. Google doesn’t update the firmware on non-Google devices, that falls on the handset manufacturers and the carriers. That’s been constantly reiterated.

  15. I was getting lots of good response to voice actions, all except for calendar ones. For them, there seemed to be a lot of confusion about when I had meetings, what they were called, if they existed at all, etc. That was the command I was having the most trouble with.

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