Google Now Adds Reminders, Search Gets Conversational on Desktop

This player is used on Facebook and anytime it's embedded outside of our sites.

SAN FRANCISCO — Your search is about to get even friendlier. At Google I/O, Amit Singhal announced several key enhancements to the company’s search tool including conversational search for the desktop, an improved knowledge graph and new Google Now cards such as reminders.

Google’s main goal with these changes is to make search do three things: answer, converse and anticipate. Google Knowledge Graph, which launched last year, provides card-based answers to your searches rather than just providing links to sites. With today’s changes, Knowledge Graph now provides more than 570 million direct answers. It also graphs statistics and matches them up against other numbers it thinks you might want.

As an example, Singhal asked Google “what is the population of India” and the search engine showed a graph with the population growth over time in India as compared to China and the United States. Google picked the U.S. and China as comparison countries, he said, because those were the other population numbers searched for most often.

Population of India

Singhal then announced that conversational search, a service which lets you pose questions via voice on your Android phone, will soon be coming to PCs and Macs via the Chrome browser. You won’t even need to tap the microphone icon to start a voice search, as the browser will listen all the time and wait for you to say the words “OK, Google” to being a query. Does that remind anyone else of Siri? 

google-plus-new-cards

Google Now, the popular personalization service that anticipates your information needs and presents them on cards, is also getting an update. Singhal showed how users will be able to add personalized reminders to their Google Now pages and will also get new cards for public transportation they use as well as music, movies and TV shows they like.

MORE: Top 5 New Features of Google Plus

To showcase the power of all the new search features, Singhal brought product manager Johanna Wright on stage to do a live demo. (During her demo, Wright conducted a conversational search for Santa Cruz, then asked, “how do I get there from here?” The search engine gave her directions to the location, because it knew that “there” was the place she had just asked about. That’s a level of context we haven’t seen from Google voice software before.

santa-cruz

Wright also showed how she could use voice actions to send an email to a friend by issuing a single voice command, add a reminder to her Google Now wall with a voice command and get all kinds of knowledge graph answers. She was even able to search for her flight itinerary just asking about her “flight to New York.” The service knew what flight she was on and when from finding that info in her Gmail.

This player is used on Facebook and anytime it's embedded outside of our sites.

The new improvements to conversational search and the knowledge graph make Google a more serious competitor to Siri. Once these changes come to the Chrome browser, users will be able to have the same conversational experience on their PCs that they already enjoy on Android phones and tablets.

AUTHOR BIO
Avram Piltch
Avram Piltch
The official Geeks Geek, as his weekly column is titled, Avram Piltch has guided the editorial and production of Laptopmag.com since 2007. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram programmed several of LAPTOP's real-world benchmarks, including the LAPTOP Battery Test. He holds a master’s degree in English from NYU.
Avram Piltch on
Facebook Twitter Google+
LEAVE A REPLY
Name*
Email* (will not be published)
Website
*Indicates required field
Comments*
Submit Comments

FIND A REVIEW
Laptops
All Product Types Accessories Cars Digital Camcorders Digital Cameras eReaders GPS Laptops MP3 & Video Players Projectors Smartphones Software Storage Tablets / MIDs VoIP Wi-Fi
All Subcategories
All Subcategories All-Purpose Budget Business Desktop Replacement Gaming Multimedia Netbook Nettop Rugged Student Tablet PCs Ultraportable
Brand
Acer Alienware Apple Archos ASUS Averatec BenQ CTL Corp. Dell Digital Storm eMachines Emtec Everex Fujitsu GammaTech Gateway General Dynamics Getac Gigabyte Hercules HP HTC iBuyPower Intel Lenovo MSI Nokia Nvidia OCZ OLPC OQO Origin Panasonic Sager Samsung Sony Sylvania Systemax TabletKiosk Toshiba Verizon Viewsonic Viliv VooDoo Workhorse PC ZT Systems
Minimum Rating
Any Rating Editor's Choice 4.5 Stars 4.0 Stars 3.5 Stars 3.0 Stars
Screen Size
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 20 4 5 6 7 8 9
Resolution
1024x576 1024x600 1024x768 1200X800 1280 x 720 1280x1024 1280x768 1280x800 1366x678 1366x768 1440x1050 1440x900 1600x768 1600x900 1680x1050 1680x945 1920x1080 1920x1200 800x400 800x480
Weight Range
10.1 - 12.0 pounds 12.1 - 14.0 pounds 14.1 - 16.0 pounds 2 lbs 2 pounds and under 2+ lbs 2.1 - 4.0 pounds 4.1 - 6.0 pounds 6.1 - 8.0 pounds 8.1 - 10.0 pounds Over 16 pounds Under 2 pounds
more options
SUBSCRIBE