Just days after the Explorer Edition of Google's first wearable device made its way onto the US Play Store, the Glass development team is starting to roll out yet another in a long history of updates. This time we're looking at XE21.0, which appears to be on the smaller side based on the changelog. Only two noteworthy details made it onto the list: faster updates for Google Now cards and accident indicators during Navigation, provided by Waze.
"OK Google" is a phrase that gets spoken around my house several times a day. So much, in fact, it's the first thing my two year old says when he picks up a phone. He looks at it, holds it close to his mouth, and out it comes...even if it's an iPhone. He makes me proud.
But I digress, this is about Google's new ads. I personally have grown to rely on Google Now and voice recognition for most things, and Google is trying to get everyone else on that train, as well (come on in guys, there's plenty of room).
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.