As Android's de facto virtual assistant, Google Now lets us speak directly to our phones in plain English to answer our questions and perform many basic tasks. With the app open, just say "Okay Google," then wait for the beep, and ask almost any question.
But several Google Now commands aren't as colloquial in nature as something like "Define colloquial," and some of the more interesting functions it performs aren't easily discovered by way of conversational dialog. As a result, these commands often go unnoticed or under-appreciated, so I'll shine a light on some of the more fun and unique functions below.
These first 13 commands show off Google Now's fun side. The engineers at Google are famous for their love of Easter eggs and hidden jokes, and that sentiment definitely carries over into Google Now.
- "Askew" Search results are tilted slightly
- "Do a barrel roll" Spins results page around in a circle
- "Flip a coin" Randomized heads or tails
- "Roll dice" Rolls one single-sided die
- "What is the loneliest number" Responds with "One"
- "What is (actor's) Bacon number?" Displays number of movies that separate this actor from a movie with Kevin Bacon.
- "Make me a sandwich," then "Sudo make me a sandwich" Says "No" until you preface your command with "sudo" for root access
- "Go go gadget (name of installed app)" Launches the app. In some cases, automatically triggers the app's main function.
- "Beam me up, Scotty" Responds with "I canna do it cappin, I do nah have the power"
- "Who's on first?" Responds with "Yes," or "What's on second," a reference to Abbot & Costello routine
- "Who are you?" Responds with "Searching for oneself can take a lifetime, but a good place to start is classic rock"
- "What's the answer to life, the universe, and everything?" Responds with the number 42
- "Are we there yet? (x4)" In Google Maps navigation mode, says "If you ask again, we're not stopping for ice cream"
These next 17 commands show off Google Now functions that aren't easily discovered through common dialog. All of these commands offer useful and practical functionality, but in true Google fashion, many are so amazingly effective that it's almost scary.
- "Show me pictures I took (in Italy/of my dog/etc)" Shows all relevant pictures you've uploaded to Google Photos
- "What's on my Chromecast" Opens the Chromecast app and shows you details about the background image
- "What is Spanish for (English word)" Shows translation info, says the word or phrase in Spanish/French/etc.
- "What's the tip for ($50)?" Opens a calculator card that defaults to a 15% tip, but it's adjustable if you want to tip more or less
- "Show me the menu for (nearby restaurant)" Displays card with restaurant's menu
- "How late is this place open?" When near a business, displays the operating hours at that location
- "What's the phone number for this place?" When near a business, displays the store's phone number
- "What are some attractions around here?" Shows popular attractions near any location
- "Take a picture/Record a video" Opens your camera app with single-shot or video mode enabled
- "Turn (on/off) Bluetooth/Wi-Fi/Flashlight" Toggles device settings on or off
- "Play some music" Opens Google Play Music app, loads "I'm feeling lucky" radio
- "What song is this?" Listens to and identifies any music that is playing. Provides link to buy song on Google Play.
- "Listen to TV" Listens to your TV and identifies the show that is currently airing. Displays information about actors in current scene.
- "Where's my package?" Displays tracking info for any package where delivery confirmation was sent to your Gmail address.
- "Show me my bills" Displays bills that are due this month. Only works if bills are sent to your Gmail address.
- "Send a WhatsApp/Hangouts/Viber message to (contact name)" Prompts you to dictate a message that will be sent via specified client.
- "Has flight (number) landed?" Displays flight information, including progress and delays
Did your favorite Google Now command make the list? Did we miss any interesting and uncommon functions? Let us know in the comment section below, or drop us a line on Android Hacks' Facebook or Twitter, or Gadget Hacks' Facebook, Google+, or Twitter.