AH Primetime: Google Now Voice Commands Grow – The List

Google Now AH 1

With so much on our minds today and people rushing around, we like to be reminded about things.  We want quick and precise answers to our questions…no extraneous babble.  We don’t want to carry any separate PDA either, we want it on the one piece of technology that we carry with us at all times – our trusty smartphone.  Many view their smartphone as an extension of themselves, our friend, if you will…they even made a movie about it called, ‘Her,’ where a lonely man falls in love with the voice on his smartphone.

This is where Google Now steps in – an intelligent personal assistant, if you will.  It was developed by Google as a mobile application for Android (and iOS) and uses a natural language interface.  It can answer your questions (many of them), make recommendations based on your location, advise you of certain conditions, such as the weather, provide Google Maps to help get you from one place to another, and even perform certain tasks by delegating them to a set of web services.  Not only will it be at your beck and call to answer you, it will also deliver proactive information to you based on your past search habits and location.

When you speak to Google Now, Google delivers relevant information to users by using “cards,” or pop-ups on your display that can actually stack on top of each other.  Many of the Specialized Cards are listed below:

Activity summary (walking/cycling) – Boarding pass – Concerts – Currency – Developing story and breaking news – Events – Event reminders – Fandango – Flights – Friends’ birthdays – Hotels – Location reminders – Movies – Nearby attractions – Nearby events – Nearby photo spots – New albums/books/video games/TV episodes – News topic – Next appointment – Packages – Parking location – Places – Product listing – Public alerts – Public transit – Research topic – Restaurant reservations – Sports – Stocks – Time at home – Time reminders – Traffic and transit – Translation – Weather – Website update – What to watch – Your birthday – Zillow.

Google Now is getting more sophisticated with each update and able to understand more words, so when you ask it question or issue it a command, your chances of it knowing exactly what you want are increasing.  Sometimes, though when you say “OK Google,” your phone is listening and waiting to hear your voice – what do you say…what can you say?  Our source gathered up a list of just about everything you can ask – and don’t be intimidated if you get the wrong answer due to a miscommunication, simply say, “No, I said” and repeat your request.  Whatever is listed in the [ ] is where you would type your own information when you ask the question.

 General Information Questions

  • How old is [Neil deGrasse Tyson]?
  • Where was [Louis C.K.] born?
  • Define [colloquial] (Or “What does [colloquial] mean?”)
  • What time is it in [Tokyo]?
  • Search for [photography tips]
  • Show me pictures of [the Leaning Tower of Pisa]
  • Do I need an umbrella today? What’s the weather like? What’s the weather in [New Orleans] [this weekend]?
  • What’s the [Google] stock price? What is [Apple] trading at?
  • What’s [182 yards] in [miles]? What is [12 ounces] in [liters]?
  • What’s [135] divided by [7.5]? (A great many types of math equations will work.)
  • Search [Tumblr] for [cat pictures] (more apps are added to this search-within-apps function all the time)

Device Control Questions

  • Open [androidheadlines.com]
  • Take a picture (“Take a photo” also works)
  • Record a video
  • Open [Pandora]

Productivity Questions

  • What’s the tip for [123 dollars]?
  • Set an alarm for [6:30 am]
  • Set a timer for [20 minutes]
  • Create a calendar event: [Dinner with Linda, Saturday at 5pm.]
  • Remind me to [buy coffee at 7am] (try locations! Remind me to [buy coffee filters at Walgreens])
  • What is my schedule for tomorrow? (also: What does my day look like [Friday]?)
  • Where’s my package? (tracking confirmation must be in Gmail)
  • Make a note: [update my router firmware] (also try “Note to self:” This works with multiple apps, and you can even email yourself!)
  • Find [Florence Ion’s] [phone number] (Works with all info in your contacts – addresses, birthdays, etc.)
  • Show me my bills. (or: My bills due this week.)

Communication Questions

  • Call [Peter] (also works with relationships: Call [sister])
  • Text [Susie] [great job on that feature yesterday] (also works with relationships: Text [mom] [I’m not going to be able to pick you up from the airport, period, I’m a bad son, period])
  • Send email to [Robert Baratheon], subject, [hunting], message, [I don’t think you should drink so much when you go hunting, period]
  • Post to [Twitter]: [Oh my god the Red Wedding episode!]

 Navigation and Travel Questions

  •  Where is the nearest [sushi restaurant]?
  • Navigate to [Willis Tower, Chicago]
  • Directions to [Fisherman’s Wharf] by [bike] (also try “Directions home” or “How do I get home?”)
  • Where is [the Louvre]?
  • Show me the menu for [Green Chile Kitchen]
  • Call [Asian Art Museum]
  • Show me my flight info
  • Where’s my hotel?
  • What are some attractions around here?
  • How do you say [good night] in [Japanese]?
  • What is [50,000 yen] in [dollars]?
  • What’s the flight status of [United] flight [735]?
  • Show me restaurants near my hotel -or- Give me directions back to my hotel (this works if your hotel confirmation was sent to your gmail account)

 Entertainment Questions

  • Play some music (opens “I’m feeling lucky” radio station in Google Play Music)
  • Next Song / Pause Song
  • Play [Happy] (songs must be in Google Play Music on your device)
  • Watch [The Lego Movie] (movies and TV must be in your Google Play account)
  • What’s this song?
  • Listen to TV
  • What songs does [Pharrell] sing?
  • Read [Hunger Games]
  • Did the [Pirates] win today? What’s the score in the [Steelers] game?
  • What movies are playing [tonight]? Where is [Toy Story] playing?

Fun hidden stuff Ask These Questions

Many of these deliver funny voice responses, but normal search results.  Turn up your sound and enjoy!

  • Flip a coin
  • Roll dice (rolls a single six-sided die)
  • What is the loneliest number?
  • Do a barrel roll!
  • Askew / Tilt
  • Go go Gadget [Spotify]
  • When am I?
  • Make me a sandwich
  • Sudo make me a sandwich
  • Who’s on first?
  • Up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right
  • Tell me a joke
  • Who are you?
  • Beam me up, Scotty!
  • What is [Jennifer Lawrence’s] Bacon number?

Remember that Google Now is there to help you – know the weather before you start your day, find out if your favorite teams won last night, and how bad traffic is for your commute?  Google Now works in the background and automatically organizes your “cards” to provide you with information that is most relevant to you.  With Google Now you are in control – you can customize it for what matters to you most. So have fun with Google Now and please hook up with us on our Google+ Page and let us know any special questions that you ask Google Now and how it has changed your habits…as always, we would love to hear from you.