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Google Now is a fully-featured digital personal assistant by Google. It can help in many of different ways, such as setting reminders, manage commute, help with shopping, answer common questions, and much more… However, all these features first require a setup, and a basic knowledge of the commands.

We are going to show you how to get started with Google Now and use it’s helpful feature to make your life easier.

Set up Google Now

Google Now is already installed in all Android 4.1 (and above) devices and can be downloaded on Windows Phone and iOS devices too. Setting up Google is simple: Just open the “Google” app and you will be asked few questions, like your home and work locations, transport means, interests, etc… Answer them and skip those you don’t want to answer to.

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This is enough to get started with Google Now. You can always customize your preference later by going in the main menu and tapping on customize. Most of the Google Now features work autonomously, but you need to give Google Now a little time to understand your commute and interests, after that it will show its magic. Try bonding with it for a week or so, and you will surely reap the rewards.

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Google Now Common And Practical Uses

1. Access The Latest Information

During setup, Google Now asks about your interests in stocks and sports. If you have provided your favorite team or company stocks, Google Now will show “cards” of all the latest updates from your favorite team or stocks. Furthermore, using your search history from Google Search, Google Now also provides updates from your favorite websites.

You can always tap on the cards to see more details on the subject in your default browser.

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Related Voice Commands:

  • “What is the <team> score?”
  • “What is <company> trading at?”

2. Optimize Your Commute

Since you can tell Google Now about your commute route, Google Now will provide cards showing how much time it will take to reach work or home (based on current traffic conditions) and also provide reminders according to your calendar items. It will also remind you about when public transportation leaves and where you have parked the car (if the information is available for your specific location).

Related Voice Commands:

  • “How to get home from here?” — Shows route to your home from your current location on Google Maps.
  • “Where have I parked the car?” — Shows last location where you have parked the car (uses Phone’s accelerometer)

Furthermore, you can use the Commute Sharing feature to let your family and friends know where you are, so they won’t be worried if you are late. You can go to “Main Menu > Settings > Traffic” and enable Commute Sharing there.

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Make Shopping Easier

Google Now can help with both online and in-store shopping. It provides suggestions based on your recent searches to let you know if there is a product update or if an item has arrived on the market. This is not just limited to online shopping: if you are near a shop that has the item you searched recently, Google Now will let you know that as well (location history must be enabled in Google Maps).

Related Voice Commands:

  • “Remind me to buy milk from <retailer>” — You can set Place or Time, and you will be reminded.

Talk to Google Now

This is the most productive thing you can do with Google Now. Ask Google Now any (simple) question and it will find an answer for you, and show relevant results. You can tell it:

  • “Open <App name>”
  • “Call <contact name>”

This is worth it, if it’s faster than search for the app or contact on the screen. Launching apps usually works very well, while contact names can be tricky, especially the foreign ones.

Want to set a reminder? just say “Set reminder for <time>” to Google Now and it will automatically set the reminder (including location based). The same thing is true for Alarms.

Furthermore, you can ask for directions, information about celebrities, play music, get definitions, ask about the weather, ask for places to visit near you, ask time in any area and pretty much anything you want.

More generic Voice Commands:

  • “How old is Brad pitt?”
  • “Open Settings/Calendar/Calculator/Message/Facebook and so on…”
  • “Take a Picture or Record a Video”
  • “What time is it in San Francisco?”
  • “Call John/Boss/Brother”
  • “Message John (replace with your contact) that I will be there in 20 minutes”
  • “What’s the weather in California”
  • “Navigate to Mc Donalds”
  • “Restaurants near me?”
  • “Convert 20 kilometers into meters”
  • “Go to Ubergizmo.com”

If you have a questions, just ask Google Now, it will be able to provide at least some useful information. Furthermore, Google also integrates with third-party apps to provide cards from those apps. For example, it can show cards from ABC News (to fetch latest news), Jawbone (Keep track of fitness goals), OpenTable (to pay bill with a single tap on the Google Now card) and Eat24 (to keep track of your food to be delivered). There is support for 70 apps, all you have to do is have the app installed in your phone and using its service.

This was just the tip of the iceberg, there is so much to discover and different ways Google Now can help. Spend a little time with it and you will see how productive it can be.

In general, it makes sense to use Google Now when it can save you time. This is true for many phrase that can easily be understood, but slow to type. Google Now can also help with contextual information such as what it can find in your email (flight numbers, hotel name/address, meetings etc…) without requiring the user to take action.

Filed in Cellphones >Tablets. Read more about Android, Google and Google Now.

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