1. Set it up right
Make sure you have set Google Now up correctly before you begin exploring.
Firstly, get Google Now to recognize your “OK Google” command from any screen by tapping the hamburger menu icon in the Google app. Then go to Settings > Voice > “OK Google” detection. Here you just slide all the toggles to the right.
Once that’s done, you’ll be prompted to train OK Google to your voice, which you do by saying “OK Google” three times.
Next, head over to Settings > Voice > Offline speech recognition and make sure all the languages you need have been downloaded. This way, you can still use OK Google commands that don’t require the internet when you’re offline.
If you trust Google enough to give it access to your location data, you will open up a lot of great Google Now features. To let Google Now use your location data, go to the Google Settings app, choose Location and make sure it’s set to On. Next, go to Google Location History at the bottom of the same page and set this to On, as well.
While you’re at it, go into the Google app, press on the hamburger menu icon and then go to Customize. In here, you can set your home and work addresses, which can be used to set reminders and get information about your commute. You can also enter your favorite sports teams, which modes of transport you use, and more, to get the most useful and interesting cards showing up.
2. Learn all the OK Google voice commands
Google Now’s OK Google offers hundreds of voice commands that can be used to achieve a whole host of operations. The more you know, the more you will get out of Google Now. Refer to our Top list of Google Now voice commands and get studying.
3. Add even more voice commands
If you download Commandr from the Play Store, you can add a host of additional commands to Google Now. From turning on the flashlight to enabling rotation lock, clearing notifications to taking a selfie, the apps expands the repertoire significantly. You can also set custom voice commands for each function.
Not only that, but Commandr includes integration for Tasker, turning Google Now into an automating machine.
4. Use location-based reminders
If you have to remember do something in a certain place, but you’re not sure what time you’ll be there, you can ask Google to remind you once it detects that you’re there. This can be useful for remembering what you need to buy when you arrive at the shop, or that you need to turn the oven on as soon as you arrive home, for example.
5. Let it help you with travel arrangements
If you use Google Calendar, Google Now will provide you with cards and notifications that let you know beforehand what time you should leave at to arrive at an appointment on time. These notifications even account for traffic conditions, making you a more punctual and effective human being.
Make sure you have your preferred mode of transport selected (Customize > Transport) and then head into Settings > Now cards and switch Commute and Time to Leave on.
6. Use it to track packages or flights
If you receive flight confirmations and delivery tracking information to a Google email account that is linked to Google Now, these emails will be used to provide cards that track packages and update you on your flight’s status.
The same can be done for any flight by searching for the flight number. If you have web history enabled, Google Now will create a dedicated card for the flight.
7. Ask follow-up questions
Google Now is pretty good at contextualizing what you say. If you’ve asked, “How large is California?”, for example, you can ask a follow-up question such as “How many people live there?” and Google should have no problems remembering that “there” refers to California.
Google Now has always been there to provide a hands-free experience, so why continue to use your fingers to laboriously open apps? Simply say “Open [app name]” and let Google do it for you!
9. Set up relationships
Google can remember which of your contacts is your mother, father, sister or brother, among others. Simply say something like “Oscar is my father” and Google will take care of the rest. If there are multiple Oscars in your phonebook, you will need to confirm which is the right entry and then select Add nickname.
Once this is done, you have access to new commands, such as “Call my mother” or “Email my dad”.
10. Replace Shazam
Google Now can comfortably replace Shazam for you. You just need to ask it “What song is playing?” and it will bring you the result.
11. Use punctuation and smilies
Messages you send using Google Now don’t have to be enormous confusing strings of words. You can easily add punctuation in by saying “period” or “comma”.You can also add in smilies using voice commands such as “sad face”.
12. Set up Google Now to understand multiple languages
If you find yourself abroad, or you’re bilingual, then make sure to set up Google Now to understand multiple languages. It will save you the frustration of trying to feed foreign street names to Google and only getting gibberish results.
All you need to do is press the hamburger menu button in the app, go to Settings > Voice > Languages and choose as many as you like.
13. Deactivate Google Now
If after all that, you still don’t see any use in having Google Now in your life, you can deactivate it by going to the hamburger menu icon, selecting Settings > Now cards and toggle off Show cards. From here, you can also delete your preferences if you know you never want to return.