If you haven't heard, Google makes a ton of Android apps. It can be a real hassle to keep up with them all, as the company is occasionally prone to updating a handful of them at once. So today we're lumping together new versions of My Tracks, Google Fiber, Google TV Search, Google Shopping Express, and Voice Search for Google TV all in one post. Links and changelogs for all five apps are available below.
Google's voice search function is undeniably cool, and it's only getting better since the company has expanded the capabilities of the Android Search/Google Now app. However, there's one tragic flaw in the execution of voice actions: they can't make popcorn. But if you add some of Android's most powerful root-enabled tools, namely Tasker, the Xposed Framework, and the previously-featured AutoVoice, the sky's the limit. With the right hardware and tinkering, you can start living your Starfleet dreams in jig time.
Just by tapping the microphone icon in the search bar, English speakers can ask Google any number of questions and have their phone respond in their native language. Thus far, others haven't been so lucky. But now Google is expanding that functionality to more languages. Starting today, French, German, and Japanese speakers shall also be able to ask their Android devices questions and hear answers spoken in the same tongue.
The changes should take place server-side, so you don't have to wait for a update (as long as you already have the latest version, that is).
Google's voice search feature has been slowly but surely working its way into more mobile products recently. First the hotword came to the search app, then to the search results. The Moto X launched with always-on listening, and the Nexus 5 now has voice commands from anywhere on the homescreen or in the search app. Now the "OK Google" command is coming to the desktop via a new Google Chrome extension.
It looks like Google isn't done adding goodies to the latest round of updates for the official Search app. The hotword for activating the voice search function is now "Ok Google," and it also works while looking at results, not just from the standard search screen. You'll need Search 2.8.7 (grab the APK here if you don't have it yet) and an updated English (US) language pack to see the new functionality.
Voice Search is everywhere these days. Google's expanding its Search app to pull contact information, Glass is controlled via voice commands, and iOS's Siri is now integrated with the Chevrolet Sonic. With the latest update to the DIRECTV app, customers can now use voice search to find out what's on television.
I've known my wife for five years now, and I still struggle to remember her phone number. The only numbers I know are those I can recall from before getting my first mobile phone, and since I have lost touch with nearly everyone from back then, that has largely been reduced down to immediate family members. For everyone else, there's a People app, and all I've had to do to dial them is start typing their name.
Here's a nice nugget of new for Google TV fans - we know you're out there. There have been rumors of an update to Sony's stylish NSZ-GS7 model (more colloquially known as the "Internet Player") for some time, and now they've made it official via the company blog. The NSZ-GS8 will be available for $199 starting in July, the online Sony store and the usual retail suspects. For the moment, Sony is selling the older model with a $30 discount, bringing it down to $169.99.
I went to LG's CES press conference, so I kind of feel obligated to write about it, even though nothing much happened. The biggest news out of the conference is that the translated "Google TV 3.0" press release we came across a few weeks ago is bogus. At the time we thought it meant a new version of GTV was coming, but it turns out it's just the same software that's been out since November, with a new launcher made by LG, which they referred to as their "3rd generation skin."
So what's new about the 3rd Gen skin?
Today, in a post to the Official Google TV Blog, Google announced officially the new functionality offered by the YouTube update we covered yesterday, along with a few other treats set to hit Google TV users starting with LG devices "this week."
First among the enhancements is the addition of Voice Search, allowing users to "simply speak to watch anything." Voice Search recognizes commands for opening apps, playing YouTube videos, visiting websites, and even finding channels or specific TV shows.