When you perform a Google search and an answer appears alongside the list of results, this tidbit of goodness comes thanks to the company's Knowledge Graph. It provides much of the brainpower for Google Now, pulling down information from a variety of sources such as the CIA World Factbook and Wikipedia. The thing is, Google thinks it's still too dumb, so the search giant has already started working on something better.
Google's Niantic Labs operates as a semi-autonomous company within Google that works on projects like Ingress and the travel app Field Trip. Ingress gets most of the attention, but now Field Trip might become a bigger part of all Android users' lives. Data from Field Trip is about to be integrated with Google Now to make sure you know what cool stuff is around when you're away from home.
Google has been doing its best to worm its way into business with Android and Chrome OS. At the same time, HP is anxious to sell more mobile devices based on Android (webOS didn't go so well). It just so happens HP has a lot of experience selling to businesses. According to The Information, the companies have been discussing combining efforts to increase business sales by enabling additional Google Now functionality specifically for business customers.
It seems like it's hard to find a non-Nexus device that uses anything close to stock Android. Samsung, HTC, LG, Sony, Asus, Acer - everywhere you look there are customizations to a greater or lesser extent. Even Motorola, formerly Google's own subsidiary, uses a custom launcher. Chinese manufacturer ZTE is looking to break that trend, however. The company is planning to launch new smartphones that use the Google Now Launcher (AKA the Google Experience Launcher) by default.
Commandr expands on Google Now by giving its users the ability to toggle hardware switches and control music with simple voice commands. There isn't a standardized way for third-party developers to do such a thing, but that hasn't stopped this developer from coming up with a product worth watching. The original release was more cool than practical, but version 2.0 goes a long way towards correcting this.
Previously Commandr required users to say "Note to self" before every action, resulting in the very awkward, "OK Google, Note to self, turn off wifi." Now the middle bit is no longer required.
There are some things that you don't need to do every day, yet are still important enough to warrant a reminder. You know, like vacuuming, or checking your stock portfolio, or reminding yourself to tweet about how incredibly important it is to bring Firefly back to television. Google's got your back: at some point they added an "occasionally" option to Google Now's built-in reminders, triggered when you tell Now to "remind me" to do something.
You probably know that you can use the "OK Google" command in Google Now (and just recently, anywhere else in Android) to do some cool things like set an alarm or check a flight number. But up to now, it hasn't been able to do much with the actual hardware on your phone. There's no easy way to expand Google Now functionality with third-party apps, but at least one developer found a work-around: meet Commandr, the new in-between service for flipping hardware switches in Google Now.
Wanna see something cool? Or, depending on your current location, hot? Then pop open the Google Now interface on your Android phone or tablet. The Weather card is a regular on the Now page, but you might see something new in there today if you have the recently updated stacked multi-city view showing, namely high and low temperatures values. Neat.
That's all there is, there isn't any more - check out the latest Search APK update, including device-wide "OK Google" activation, for more information.