Google updated its Search app for Android on Wednesday evening, which is the software that also powers Google Now. In a blog post on Google+ detailing the update, Google explains the new features which include update cards for websites you follow, a news topic card and recommendations for currently playing movies and televisions shows.
What Google doesn’t say is that Google Now gains more conversational functions as well.
Ron Amadeo from ArsTechnica cleverly noticed that Google Now is more like Apple’s Siri in one regard: The app now asks for more information as needed. Take a peek at this video from Amadeo showing off how a text message can be sent in this manner:
Previously, you’d have to specify both your recipient and your message all in one fell swoop, hoping Google Now got everything exactly right. With the update, you can do this same action step by step.
I noticed that Amadeo is using a Nexus 5 handset for his test and originally thought that the feature may be specific to Android 4.4 devices and therefore Google didn’t make mention of it yet. But after a chat with Amadeo and updating the app — it’s rolling out over time so Amadeo graciously provided me the .apk file — it worked just fine on a Nexus 10 tablet running Android 4.3. I had to send an email since the Wi-Fi tablet can’t send texts natively, but it worked the same way: I said “send an email” and Google Now asked me who to send it to, for example.
My hope is that the same feature ends up in the Google Search for iOS app because lately, Google has been bringing parity between the two platforms for its services. That’s why I recently, and surprisingly, sold a Nexus 7 to buy an iPad Air. Google services have improved enough that you can be Google-centric and still use non-Android hardware.