Life With Cortana, Microsoft’s Predictive Search Challenger To Google Now & Siri

cortana-600px Microsoft's new predictive search agent Cortana is finally becoming available to the general public. How does it compare to longstanding champion Google Now? After months of using them both, it's no contest. Google Now easily wins, in my daily life. But Cortana does gives Microsoft an important foundation in the predictive search space and puts it well ahead of Apple's own Siri. Welcome, Cortana Microsoft announced that Cortana would be part of Windows Phone 8.1 earlier this year. Developers and others who chose to install the Windows 8.1 preview on their phones have had access to Cortan [...]


Google Updates iOS Search App To Include “Smarter” Voice Search Cues & Customized Alerts

Google ios Search version 4.0 The Apple-focused website 9to5Mac.com reported today that Google's iOS Search app has been updated to version 4.0, with new voice search cues and customized alerts from Google Now. With the updates, the app's new voice search cues offer more conversational-styled search queries. According to the app's iTunes page, users can have a "smarter" conversation, asking questions like "What's the weather like?" followed by, "How about this weekend?" Using Google Now, the new version of the iOS Search app will also alert users when an article on their favorite topic, or from their favorite authors [...]


Google In-Store & Location-Aware Product Reminders Now In Google Now For Android

Google iOS Search App Yesterday, as expected, Google announced on Google+ that the location-aware, in-store product reminders are now built into the latest version of Google Now on your Android Google Search App. Google said "if you’re out and about and near a store that carries those boots, you might see a Google Now card showing you the product and price to remind you that you wanted them." Imagine you search for a specific product on Google and then you are driving or walking past a store on the street that has that product. Imagine Google pops up a Google Now card to tell you the store has it and the pr [...]


Indoor Maps & Mall Directories Come To Google Now For Android

Google-Maps-icon As we reported last week, similar to the offline Google Now cards, Google has made indoor maps within the Android Search App's Google Now cards live. Google Indoor Maps was introduced in 2011 for select malls and shopping centers. Now, if you are using the latest Google Search App on Android, a Google Now card may appear and show you a searchable card that lets you find the stores in the mall. It may also help you walk directly to the store using Google's indoor maps feature. Google said, "with one tap, you’ll be taken to the indoor map in Google Maps with a pin showing you exactly whe [...]


Google Now Cards Now Work Without An Internet Connection

Google Now As we expected, the Android version of the Google Search App now supports offline mode for Google Now cards. So if you are in a location without internet, such as a subway, somewhere out in a deserted island or just in the middle of Manhattan and you have poor reception (no joke), Google will still show your Google Now cards, even without a connection to the internet. Google announced this late on Friday on Google+ saying: Next time you’re on the subway and want to check on your day’s appointments with Google Now, you won’t have to worry about lack of cell service. Starting today [...]


Google Now Remembers Where You Parked, Gains Offline Cards, Indoor Maps, Shopping Reminders

google-now-card-featured Excited that the updated Google Search App for Android will remember where you parked your car? Wait, there's more! Google Now cards also work offline, malls are gaining indoor map directories and you can now get product search reminders. Earlier today Barry Schwartz wrote that the updated Google Search App for Android will now help you locate your car in a parking lot or on the street. Since then, we've learned that this "parking locator card" is just one of several new features and capabilities in the updated Android version of Google Now. No word on iOS yet. Among the new Now feature [...]


Google Search App Adds Reminders For Where You Parked Your Car

Google iOS Search App Android Authority reports Google's latest update to the Android version of the Google Search App has a new feature to remember where you parked your car and then give you directions on how to go back to that location. Parking at large venues, malls, or big cities, can often get confusing at times. You often see those people walking around the parking lot, clicking the lock and unlock buttons on their keys, to trigger a sound or flash on their car so they can find out where they parked their car. How it works is that when you park your car, Google will ask you if you want to save this loc [...]


Rumor: Google To Broadly Expand “OK Google” Voice Actions

OK Google According to Android Police, Google is preparing a broad expansion of voice actions beyond its search app. The report describes this initiative as "OK Google Everywhere." Voice actions would extend to other Google apps (e.g., mail, photos) and would also be contextually specific, taking on Google Now-like capabilities. Currently queries and some app-related commands can be executed by voice but the report suggests a much deeper use of voice together with contextually specific actions: For example, if you were having a conversation with someone in Gmail, the prompt may suggest replying to t [...]


Videos: Comparing Cortana & Siri & Google Now

cortana-600px Today, Microsoft released the developer preview of Windows Phone 8.1 and with that, the ability to play with a preview of Cortana, Microsoft's answer to Apple Siri and Google Now. Both Gizmodo and CNet have released video demos comparing Cortana & Siri & Google Now. I like the Gizmodo comparison a little more, so we will post that first followed by the CNet review. Gizmodo has not made their video embeddable, so you need to view it on Gizmodo.com. Here is the CNet video: [...]


Google Now Comes To Chrome For Desktops & Laptops

Google Now for Desktop Google's amazing predictive search tool, Google Now, is finally being made available to people on desktop and laptop computers using the regular release of its Chrome browser. Until now, it had only been available through mobile devices or to those using beta versions of Chrome. Google shared the news via its Google Chrome account on Twitter today: Rolling out today, @Google Now cards will be available to signed-in Chrome users on desktop or laptop computers: http://t.co/6zBf6ky0je — Google Chrome (@googlechrome) March 24, 2014 It also shared through Google+:   G [...]


Expect Labs Offers Free API: Google Now In A Box

Expect Labs Expect Labs, which is behind the MindMeld consumer application, has announced a new developer API. The new API brings the company's "anticipatory computing" platform to third parties in the cloud. Use of the API is free. Expect Labs is trying to get it "out there" and see how developers deploy the company's technology on their applications. As a practical matter what Expect Labs is offering could be likened to "Google Now in a Box." Developers and publishers will thus be able offer predictive or contextual search and more sophisticated recommendations and content discovery to users. [...]


Google Now Adds Google Now “Launcher,” Video On Demand Providers, Airbnb Reservations & More

google-now-launcher Engadget reports Google has quietly rolled out several enhancements to Google search app for Android, bolstering Google Now features on the Nexus 5 and some other devices. Here are the changes that were labeled "bug fixes and performance improvements" in the Google Play store for the app. The most noticeable change is that the Nexus 5 home screen has now been renamed the "Google Now Launcher." Select your TV providers and/or video on demand providers and Google Now will give you recommendations on what to watch. Airbnb reservations also now display in Google Now. Also the alarms and n [...]


DeepMind Buy Another Google “Moonshot” Of Sorts

DeepMind logo Re/code offers some additional insight into the $400+ million acquisition of artificial intelligence (AI) startup DeepMind that was reported last week. The people at DeepMind will apparently work with the search team at Google but not exclusively: Or as search is known at Google today, the “Knowledge” group, so-called because it no longer just finds keywords on web pages, but instead connects larger concepts. Knowledge is led by Google SVP Alan Eustance, but DeepMind will work closely with a team led by Jeff Dean, a near 15-year Google veteran, best known for his work on distributed syst [...]


Analyst Gives Both Google Now And Siri A “C+”

Siri logo Piper Jaffray financial analyst Gene Munster performed his now annual comparison of Google Voice Search/Google Now and Siri to determine which one performed better. Using 800 queries under a variety of "controlled" and "uncontrolled" conditions, Munster and his team tested and compared the two "assistants." Munster gave Google Voice Search/Now a C+, an improvement from the D- it received a year ago. Siri received the identical C+ grade, up slightly from a C last year. It may well be that Google Voice Search/Now and Siri have achieved some level of parity in their ability to understand a [...]


Google Now Adds TV, Movies, News Topics, Blog Posts, Waze Data, In Store Pick Up Reminders & More

google-now-featured Google announced improvements to Google Now for Android users. The new update brings more Google Now cards to Android users including: Website update card can bring you things like the latest post so you’ll never miss a story. News topic card brings you fresh articles from the web on topics you care about. What to watch card gives you Movie and TV recommendations when you’re staying in. Traffic with Waze card where you can see traffic incidents on your commute using real-time data from Waze Reminders update where you can set repeat reminders Rugby scores to get real time scores fo [...]


Nexus 5 First Impressions: A Great, Search-Centric Smartphone

Google Nexus 5 Google shipped out demo versions of the Nexus 5 late last week. People are still receiving them today. I got one on Friday and have been using it on WiFi ever since. (I haven't tried it on a wireless network and can't speak to the LTE experience.) The phone immediately sold out of its initial supply online. Both the 16GB and 32GB versions now require a wait time of at least 3 - 4 weeks (4 - 5 weeks in the case of the 16GB version). This won't be a comprehensive Nexus 5 handset review or a complete review of Android 4.4 "KitKat." If you're looking for complete rundowns on the handset or i [...]


Google Now Cards Invade The New Google Maps

Google sure does love its new card-based information display. They're the primary display for Google Now information. They're part of Google's new unified design on mobile devices. They're how all information is displayed on Google Glass. They've been spotted in the wild displaying Google News results, too. And now they're part of the new (still in beta) Google Maps experience -- one of several updates announced today. Google says it's in the process of adding cards for personal travel -- flight, hotel and restaurant reservations -- right inside Google Maps. The cards will show up if [...]


Google Now Gains Car Rental, Concert Tickets, Reminders While You Search & More

google voice search More cards have come to Google's predictive search service, Google Now, including information to alert you to your car rentals, concert tickets and a way to set reminders related to TV shows, book releases and more, when you are searching. Car Rentals Google posted the news to its Android page on Google+, since these are only updates for the Android version of Google Now. Google explained that car rental reservations will now show up, similar to this example: Concert Tickets If you have a concert ticket in your Gmail, Google Now will detect that and display it if you are near the venue [...]


Google Brings More “Now” To Search With New Quick Answers

google-now-card-featured Google is bringing more of the capabilities of Google Now to the search box and providing a range of personalized "quick answers" regardless of platform. These new search capabilities focus on "travel and logistics" use cases: reservations, flights, package tracking and calendar entries, among a few others. The content and capabilities will likely expand over time. Google's general objective is to make it easy to get information quickly without having to shift through email or drill down into other Google apps. Google Now has been delivering much of this information to mobile users for s [...]


Google Scientist: We Want To Be Able To Respond To A Query Like “Book Me A Trip To Washington, DC”

google-data-knowledge-brain-featured Will the day come that Google can successfully respond when you tell it something like, "Book me a trip to Washington, DC" -- walking you through all the queries and answers needed to complete such a complex request? Will the day come when we're using devices that only offer voice-based search? Will the day come when visual search happens continuously via the camera on Google Glass? Those are some of the search-based challenges that Google is working on, and they're discussed in a recent interview that offers a peek at what Google thinks search will be like in the next decade. Or mayb [...]


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