Google Now is getting even smarter. At the company's I/O 2015 keynote moments ago, Google unveiled a new feature that lets Android's personal assistant examine whatever is happening on your screen and automatically take relevant actions. Basically, Google Now is being infused into every piece of the Android operating system. "You’re deluged with a lot of information on your phones," said Google SVP Sundar Pichai. The evolution of Google Now is aiming to fix that. "We have the biggest investment in machine learning over the last few years, and we believe we have the best capabilities in the world," Pichai said. He then handed things off to Aparna Chennapragada, Google Now's product director.
"We want to proactively bring you answers," Chennapragada said. Google Now "understands" over 100 million places. And it's not just simple business listings. "Not just geometry, but when are they busy, when are they open, and what are you likely to need when you’re there?," asked Chennapragada. She then moved on to demonstrate Now's new intelligent awareness. While playing a Skrillex song, she simply asked Now "What's his real name?" and it provided the answer.
With an email about movies on screen, you can simply tap and hold on the screen and Google Now will present detailed Cards for each of the films. Now analyzes the content on your screen and instantly searches for relevant context and data that could be useful. If you're texting someone about dinner ideas, Google Now can automatically pull up restaurant ratings and the hours for any place mentioned in the conversation. It gets even simpler; tap on any word in Chrome and Google Now will be able to pull up a definition card, for example. Here's how Google explains the new capabilities in a blog post:
When you tap and hold the home button, Google gives you options that are a best guess of what might be helpful to you in the moment. But if you need something specific, you can also get Google to help by saying "Ok Google" from any screen, and any app. For example, if you’re listening to Twenty One Pilots on Spotify, you can say "Ok Google, who’s the lead singer" and get your answer right away.
"We'll share a lot more details over the next few months," Chennapragada teased.
Google Now's expanded functionality comes amid rumors that Apple is working to build a service resembling Google's for iOS 9, slated to be unveiled at the company's own developer conference early next month. Microsoft also recently announced that its Cortana assistant is coming to Android, but with the scope of what Google is trying to pull off here, Now on Tap could render Cortana obsolete when Android M is released in Q3.
See all of the Google IO news right here
Google I/O 2015: Android M announced