Posts Tagged

google now

Diary writing is an art of self-documentation that is virtually as old as writing itself. It is also a dying art. A respectable population of journal-keepers there may still be, but aside from these committed wordsmiths, society at large is simply not finding the time to keep a log. That’s a shame.

It also seems like an unnecessary chore. The huge quantity of digital data we produce on a daily basis, if collated, could provide a fairly accurate picture of our by-the-minute activities. Such an idea may seem somewhat futuristic, but this is the ambition which drove development company Dexetra to create the life-logging app, Friday. But this six-man team wanted to go beyond a simplistic journal; Binil Anthony, co-founder and CMO of Dexetra, outlined the vision to me — “to find info of an externality, we have Google and a lot of other search engines. But how do we search for things in our personal lives?”

A good question. With Friday, Dexetra intended to capture much of the data generated in daily phone use and combine it with the natural language processing engine found in their first app, Iris, in order to create a voice-searchable personal database. An incredible concept, for sure, but has it worked?

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This week we saw Valentine’s Day and the industry certainly recognised our love of the robotic operating system with a consistent slew of news. Want to hear of the $10,000 Android smartphone, learn of the release of Nexus 4 wireless charging orbs or what’s new with the stock operating system? Be sure to check in after the jump! (more…)

I like to think that one of our big responsibilities here at AppStorm is to try out new methods of customizing and improving our phone experience, then translating the technical jargon of developers, and delivering to our readers a clear and concise method for that customization.

So, when I had been reading on the forums that a way had been worked out to add Google Now to a lot of ICS phones, I jumped right on it.

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Those of you with a Nexus device (or one of the few other phones and tablets with an official Jelly Bean update or unofficial ROM) have surely already tried out Google Now. What do you think of it?

I hate to say it, but I’m a little disappointed — it doesn’t feel ready yet. I was really interested to read Joe’s recent post outlining Google Now, as his experiences don’t match mine.

Part of the issue is that I’m in the UK. I had to fiddle around with the locality settings to switch from the old robot to the new voice in the first place, which was not a good start. And although Google Now understands my asking “When are the Cubs playing?”, showing me a card of the latest scores and giving me updates periodically from then on, it has no idea what I mean by “When is Manchester United playing?”, simply showing me a standard Google search result.

Okay, so it’s not international yet. That’s irritating, but understandable. Unfortunately, other little irritations exist, and they do add up. For instance, setting a reminder is useful, and I find myself doing it a lot: “In 15 minutes, remind me to take the vegetables out of the oven” successfully sets an alarm for fifteen minutes in the future, prompting me to “take the vegetables out of the oven.” Great! But these gradually fill up my stock Alarms list, so that it’s now full of odd times — and there’s no way to select several and delete them all. Plus, a request like “On Tuesday, remind me to do the recycling” brings up an error message, rather than setting an alarm, a calendar appointment, or a Google Task.

There are inconsistencies, too. Most voice actions are given as though talking to a person: “Remind me to X”, “What’s the weather like?”, “Navigate to X”. But “Play music” just loads the Google search results for [play music] (of which the first result is the Play Store listing for, yep, Play Music). To make the phone play music, I have to say, “Listen to music”. And even then it just loads a playlist of songs whose title contains the word “music”!

I could go on, but I won’t. I really like the idea of Google Now; I like the presentation, I like the concept – but it’s not ready yet. In time (and especially when other app developers build on top of it) I think it will be great. But for now, it’s just a novelty that’s more annoying that useful. Do you agree?

When Jelly Bean was officially announced, Android users had a lot to be excited about. The latest version of the OS is super-smooth (like Butter!), there are expandable notifications that actually include functionality, there is a better keyboard, better widgets, and a better camera/gallery.

The biggest announcements, of course, were the addition of a better voice search, and with it, Google Now. So what is Google Now? Let’s find out!

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