Thursday, November 7, 2013

Using New Google Search Features on Apple Devices

Google Now for iOS isn't quite on par with its Android counterpart, but it's getting very close -- especially after yesterday's release of the updated Google Search app. In case you're unfamiliar with it, Google Now integrates with the Search app to provide you custom, personalized information, everything from local weather to sports scores to traffic reports -- and now, reminders. This data appears on cards when you swipe up from the main Google-search screen. The update adds a few noteworthy new features to the mix, most of which Android users have already been enjoying. Here's how to make the most of the new Google Search for iOS:

Run a hands-free Web search

After you load the Google Search app, you can perform a hands-free search by saying, "OK, Google," pausing until you hear the beep, then saying whatever you want to search for. Unless you have a MotoX, the app must be running for this voice-powered search to work. Or maybe not! If you have an iPhone 4S or later (which is required for voice-powered searching), you can use Siri to run Google Search, and then operate the app with the "OK, Google" command. 

Google Search app lets you create reminders by voice.
The updated Google Search app lets you create reminders by voice.
(Credit: Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET)

Set a hands-free reminder

Once you have Google Search running (either manually or via Siri), you can perform other voice-powered tricks as well. To set a reminder, for example, you'd say, "OK, Google," then any of the following:
  • "Remind me to start a load of laundry when I get home."
  • "Remind me to call Dave Jones at 10 a.m. tomorrow."
  • "Remind me to rake the leaves this weekend."
Unfortunately, once the app creates the reminder for you, you'll still have to tap the screen to actually set it, so it's not an entirely hands-free operation. On the plus side, you can tweak "when" and "where" settings as needed before finalizing the reminder.
The good news is that those reminders will become push notifications, meaning your iPhone or iPad doesn't have to remain on, and you don't need to be actively using the Google Search app.
However, and this is no surprise, the app still doesn't integrate directly with iOS, so you can't do things like add appointments and have them appear in Calendar.

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