This is why it's great that Google unbundles core apps from the OS. While it might take a considerable amount of time before the newest version of Jelly Bean rolls out to your device, current Android 4.1 users can upgrade Google Search right now and get access to the latest improvements to Google Now. The list of fun new features includes additional cards (like Stocks, News, Concerts, and Packages), as well as voice actions, including the glorious ability to add events to your calendar with via speech.
Here's the changelog:
What's in this version:
For Android 4.1+ (Jelly Bean), Google Search is faster plus:
- Google Now works with Gmail (English only)
- Restaurant reservations
- Hotel confirmations
- New Now cards: nearby attractions & photo spots, movies opening in theaters, concerts & more
- New voice actions: launch apps, schedule meetings & check when your next appointment is
Google Now puts you in control: at any time, adjust or turn off individual Now cards within Settings.
The Gmail bit is particularly interesting, as there is now a separate subsection for cards that are pulled from your email. Packages, flights, hotels, restaurant reservations and event bookings can all be accessed via cards if you give Google permission to scan your correspondance for relevant bits of data. If you're uncomfortable with that, yet still want to use Google Now, you can selectively disable individual cards. Check out all the new features here. There are a lot of them.
The update is incredible and available on your 4.1+ device right now. If you're missing an update button (as some of us were), you can force an update by installing it via the widget below.