08
Jun
nowthumb

Google Now is seemingly getting smarter almost every week, at least that's how often we seem to run into subtle (but clever) changes. By now you probably know that with Google Now, you can set reminders for just about anything. "OK Google, remind me to call the doctor tomorrow at noon" will let you set that reminder with a single tap.

But did you know that Google Now will parse your queries for known associations with phone numbers and add a Call button automatically? Observe:

Screenshot_2014-06-07-12-10-23 Screenshot_2014-06-07-12-06-10

The first screenshot shows the card that pops up to remind you to "call exit entry clearance store" (a fictitious store). Because Google can't match that to a phone-book style entry, it's a simple reminder with no dynamic link. But "remind me to call Home Depot" recognizes the command as linked to a business, and integrates the call button with Google Maps in the second card. Touch the call button and you'll see a list of local matches for the business, each of which can then be dialed with one additional tap.

The last screen there is simply Google Search with the query to "call Home Depot" which brings contextual results, complete with the the map and contact information. But it's that bit of magic that makes all of these come together so painlessly that makes Now and its tricks so special.

Obviously the utility of this feature will vary depending on exactly what you're doing and where. But the fact that it's in there shows the amount of depth that the company is building into Google Now. Neato.

Thanks, Foster!

Michael Crider
Michael is a native Texan and a former graphic designer. He's been covering technology in general and Android in particular since 2011. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.

  • http://thepolymath.in/ Deepansh Khurana

    Working perfectly! This is pretty cool. Google Now is really improving on a per week/per 3 days basis. Good guy Google.

  • Martin Karim

    Best change would be to include other languages imho...

    • Nasko Hristov

      A change that I'll appreciate a lot.

    • Imparus

      I would recommend setting it to English(US), as a workaround until google gets its ass moving when it come to other languish. Google now actually work well in countries that aren't America when it is set to English(US), and much better than the local languish will (Scandinavian here) that is at least what I have done ;)

      • Martin Karim

        For voice commands it works pretty well, but it is inconvenient if you want to search in your native language ;)

  • steelew

    This must be a 4.4.x feature. I keep trying all of these updates like setting a timer and now this one. Neither of them work. The timer still sets an alarm and this reminder still sets a normal reminder I tried call mom and home depot both returned the same NORMAL reminder. I'm on 4.3 and I have the latest google search installed (34.16.1149292.arm).

    • gwhizkids

      Same issue for me. On an S3 (Verizon) 4.3.

  • Mohibb

    Is this something new? I've seen the "Call" button lots of times... :/

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Not necessarily - I don't have a specific date of when this happened. It's just something we wanted to point out in Now because it shows its smarts and a tipster just focused our attention on it this weekend.

    • Krzysztof Jozwik

      It might not be, but this if the first time I've seen anything about it.

  • Devgirl

    I've had this for a while now...

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Quite possibly. I did some research, and while everyone talked about reminding to call dad or mom (or other contacts in the address book), I found nothing talking about this specific feature that adds the Call button contextually, based on Google's knowledge. So we wanted to point it out.

      • my95z34

        I had it about a month or two ago regarding Comcast. At first I thought I had a contact set for them, but I did not.

      • Jason Brown

        thank you for sharing artem. people just like to complain about a feature that they've "had for a while now..."

        sometimes people don't notice these things unless it's pointed out to them. great way to let people know. keep up the good work ap.

  • Keq

    I just hope that new Android features aren't only new Google Now fonctionalities :/

    • joser116

      What?

      • http://twitter.com/anishbhalerao Anish Bhalerao

        You mean to ask, "Lolwut?"

        • Keq

          😕😄

  • Guest

    Yep, I've been seeing this for quite a while. Just letting you know

  • Paparazzi

    As much as I appreciate the improvements made in the reminders fort, I keep missing these reminders as Google expects me to keep staring at the scree. They either popup or are just visible in the notification area. At best, there is a weak "tung" sound that I tend to miss when busy. If they allow for us to set up a sound for these reminders, that would be great!

    If the option is already there and I've missed it, would appreciate guidance :)

    • http://www.anivision.org/ Christopher Bailey (Xcom923)

      Accessories. My GN notifications come through my pebble and that's probably the best way not to miss them. Pay attention to the Google IO event for the Android wear stuff

      • Dalton Ross

        I'd rather keep the $300 in my pocket and just have the option to "Remind me again in 5 min. if not dismissed" Not to say that they are not awesome, but not everyone can spend that much money on something that should already be an option IMO.

        • http://www.anivision.org/ Christopher Bailey (Xcom923)

          I'm sure you could do that. In fact I'm sure there are apps centered around notification reminders.

    • Paul_Werner

      You can set a different notification noise... pull up Google now, scroll to the botton and choose the 3 dots on the lower right, choose settings > notifications > Ringtone.

      That will set up the urgent updates in Google Now to use their own unique notification. I currently have mine set to the Portal Turret saying "Excuse Me"

      • Paparazzi

        Thank you so much! Now that was an option I missed ... going to try it out immediately.

  • http://dabuxian.com/ Dabu

    I always get the feel I use only 10% of Google Now features. I don't remember all these fancy voice commands, I just set reminders in calendar or Keep.

    • AbbyZFresh

      Some of these commands are probably geared towards Android Wear.

  • https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=iWizard Bikram Agarwal

    Google Now is again eating away my battery. It is showing non-stop GPS usage, even when I have location service / GPS turned off and "Wifi always scanning" turned off. As useful as Now may be, I have to disable it. Fix your shit, Google.

  • Lenbok

    Recognizing contact names doesn't work for me. "Send a text to " recognizes a contact just fine, but "remind me to call " doesn't.

    • Lenbok

      Discus went and reformatted that for me but hopefully you get the meaning

  • randombrick
    • Serotheo

      He credited AndroidPolice, though I don't know the finite boundaries of actual article stealing, he seems to have typed the summary himself and does include a jump to AP.

      It'd be different if he shopped out an AP logo and used it as his own news.

      • http://androidaces.com/ Vishal Toshiwal

        Thanks for kinda vouching me here. And now I'll never washed out AP logos and credits whenever i share news first posted by AP Team.

    • http://androidaces.com/ Vishal Toshiwal

      Hey, randombrick! I did not steal AP's content. I appreciate the work Artem and his team does here. I've given them full credit. I am just an Android enthusiast and sharing what I like through blogging. I maybe new at pro blogging, but my intentions are good.

  • http://reDroid.ru/ Purik Roman

    Немного русского языка бы не повредило :)

  • FrillArtist

    Another battery draining feature. As much as I love Google Now, the massive battery drain issues far outweigh the benefits. As a result, I had to disable it.

    • shonangreg

      Is there a battery drain if you have it set to listen for "OK, Google" only when you have the Google Search window open? On my S5, nothing happens when I say "OK, Google" unless I long-press the home button first.

      Or were you trying to say something else, Frill?

      • emostorm7

        You have to turn that feature on

    • emostorm7

      So many improvements in battery technology... Longer lasting, replaceable, 2amp charging (full charge in 45 minutes), portable power banks that look cool and you can share with a friend when doing processor intensive things.... The list goes on and on. If these things sound outlandish, rethink the 600$ smartphone ... Just saying :)

  • http://iron2000.blogspot.com/ iron2000

    If only it is smarter with how it uses the battery.

  • E Jom

    Is this USA only? Google Now seems useless outside USA

  • fallenyogi

    I love Google Now, but I prefer using Google's own Keep for reminders so I can better organize and view them. Trying to find and delete reminders in Google Now is a little more cumbersome.

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