Google Now : What about Tomorrow ? (Pun Intended)
Android 4.1 Jelly bean has been out for some time now, and I have been using ever since my GNex got updated by ElGoog itself.
I have to say that at first I was impressed at how far Google voice search has come, how responsive it became in this latest iteration and overall how compelling and straightforward it is now.
Google Now, is capable of set reminders, putting alarms, telling you the weather, and even looks up football score on request.
While that might sound like perfection, there's one area where Google truly struggles, and that's before getting to the content of the results and Google Now limitations. This area is Natural Language Voice Recognition, by that I mean how well Google Now deals with our natural way of asking questions.
Let me give an example, so let's say I wanna know the weather for today, with Google Now there are a few ways to get that information; you say :
<!--[if !supportLists]-->· <!--[endif]-->Weather + name of city
<!--[if !supportLists]-->· <!--[endif]-->What's the weather like today
<!--[if !supportLists]-->· <!--[endif]-->Should I wear a coat today
<!--[if !supportLists]-->· <!--[endif]-->How hot/cold is it today
Anyway you get the idea. For weather its great but as soon as you try something else you have to work within a very limited number of set phrases to get Google Now to correctly process the action. Like making a phone call, you'd have to either start the command b saying Call or Dial plus the person's name. You can't say:
<!--[if !supportLists]-->· <!--[endif]-->I wanna talk to X
<!--[if !supportLists]-->· <!--[endif]-->let me talk to Y
<!--[if !supportLists]-->· <!--[endif]-->put Z on the line for me
I mean these are the sort of sentences you'd say if someone (a real person) was to make a phone call for you, right?
That's just the tip of the iceberg, as you drill down into what Google Now can and can't do, you realise that there a lot of limitations. A prime example of this in my opinion is this simple question that should soooo easy to answer:
Where am I?
Why can't Google Now tell me my location with a simple voice command?
Why do I have to open the Maps app. Tap on the geolocation icon. Wait for it to find me. Then figure out whats around that location. Why? Do you know the answer became I don't.
What's happening today?
A question that we always ask ourselves (while checking our calendar) right, a question we ask our friends when we seek the entertainment. A question that is so embedded in our human nature that you'd wonder why hasn't Google implemented in its voice search engine. The funny thing is that for this simple question many actions can be taken. When asked, what's happening today? Google could:
<!--[if !supportLists]-->· <!--[endif]-->show us our agenda of the day
<!--[if !supportLists]-->· <!--[endif]-->show us activities/events happening around the area
<!--[if !supportLists]-->· <!--[endif]-->show you the news of the day
<!--[if !supportLists]-->· <!--[endif]-->give us the choice to make a decision a out the type of info we desire
A question that also derives from that is, What happened today (in history)?
Imagine being able to ask that and have Google pull up, out of its wealth of information, of the major things that have happened on the day based on relevance, location and type of event. Wouldn't that be great? Wouldn't you think to yourself, that's what Google is made for? I know I would.
And there are other things that Google Now should just be able to do, like the ability to search apps (and other content) in the Play store.
Why, for the life of me, can't I add a reminder for the next day or week? Why are they limited to hours of the day?
Google+ should have a deeper integration in the OS and I should be able to post to G+(and other sites) just by talking to my phone.
Then you get beautifully crafted apps like Maluuba, and makes you wonder why couldn't Google do this? Mind you they aren't perfect, far from it, but the get the job done and the allow for a wider variety of natural language commands.
So my question is: Google Now, what of tomorrow? What do you have in store for us?
I’d really like to hear about:
<!--[if !supportLists]-->· <!--[endif]-->Sort of functionality you most frustrated with using Google Now
<!--[if !supportLists]-->· <!--[endif]-->Functions/actions you wish Google Now could take
<!--[if !supportLists]-->· <!--[endif]-->Predictions you have for improvements made with the rumoured new Nexus device.