Google's Voice Assistant Gets Smarter

By Darren Orf on at

Uber upgrades its unfortunately necessary SOS button, the Apple Watch is cheaper than you think, and Google voice actions get much better. Your news round-up BitStream is here to top off your week.


Google’s been updating a lot of its core services recently by adding the same feature—third-party apps. Earlier this week, Google Now cards received a fresh influx of partners (70 to be exact) and now Google voice actions is getting a similar treatment.

Detailed in a Android Developers Google+ post, Google is now offering support tie-ins so developers can create voice actions for certain apps. For example, you can now launch apps like NPR, Shazam, or TripAdvisor straight from the voice assistant. You can even take it a step further by giving a command after it opens the app, like asking Shazam to analyse a song or launching TuneIn but in car mode (as shown above).

Google says it’s only working with a select group of partners for now but will be “open it up more widely” in the future. With Cortana porting to the desktop and Google Now getting more convenient functionality, looks like we’re entering another mobile voice assistant showdown.

Here’s a few Google voice actions to get you started.

[Android Developers]

Apps and Devices

Uber’s SOS button in India, a response to a rash of illegal activity happening in hailed Uber cabs, will now send live GPS updates and driver/passenger information to local police. [Uber]

The cheapest Apple Watch costs $350 in the US, but it may only cost Apple $83.70 to make – WHERE IS THE JUSTICE? [CNN Money]

The One M9 gets an upgrade so it can take advantage of RAW photo-taking capabilities. Why this wasn’t available at launch I have no idea. [Anandtech]

Rumours!

When Sony announced the Japan-only Z4 it felt a little...same old, same old. But new rumours say the new “Z4” may actually be called the Z3+ for the rest of the world. [Android Community]

This map of the universe spans two-billion light years. Cartographers...get on this level. [Vimeo]

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