Google Now and Google Assistant

DATE: 23 October 2017

Google Now and Google Assistant

Following on from their guest blog from April, the team from Yooralla’s ComTEC have written a summary of what different Voice-Activated Personal Assistant (PA) apps on your phone can do for you.

Following on from their guest blog from April, the team from Yooralla’s ComTEC have written a summary of what different Voice-Activated Personal Assistant (PA) apps on your phone can do for you.

iPhone’s Siri, Android’s Google Assistant, Cortana on Windows 8 and 10 smartphones and S-Voice on Samsung devices can perform a wide range of tasks and functions for you.

These PA apps can:

  • make phone calls
  • send and read text messages
  • find, read, and send emails
  • set reminders and alarms
  • create an event in your calendar
  • open / launch apps
  • search the Internet
  • play music
  • perform calculations
  • book Uber rides, and  
  • order food online.

This blog will explore Android's Google Now and Google Assistant. If you have an Apple device – read about Hey Siri.

Google Now

Google Now is an intelligent personal assistant developed by Google. It is available in the Google app for Android and iOS.
It can perform actions by saying the command   “Okay Google” to do the following:

  • answer user-initiated questions
  • make recommendations
  • delegating requests to a set of web services, or
  • create calendar events using voice input.

Google Now is implemented as an aspect of the google search application. It recognizes repeated actions that a user performs on the device (common locations, repeated calendar appointments, search queries, etc.) to display more relevant information to the user in the form of "cards".

If you have a stock Android phone or you install the Google Now Launcher, then you can simply say, “Ok Google,” on your home screen to bring it to life, or swipe from left to right. You can also hold down the Home button or swipe up from the Home button to quickly select Google Now.

Google Assistant

Google Assistant is a virtual personal assistant developed by Google but unlike the Google Now, the Google Assistant can engage in two-way conversations.

Google Assistant is available for Android phones running Marshmallow versions which allow the user to engage in a two-way conversation with the phone.  

It is compatible with Google’s messaging app Allo and its voice-activated speaker Google Home.

What Can the Google Assistant do?

By saying the command “Ok Google” it can:

  • search the internet
  • schedule events and alarms
  • adjust hardware settings on the user's device
  • find information from the user's Google account
  • maintain a shopping list
  • call and SMS someone from contact list
  • call businesses listed on the web
  • book an Uber ride
  • buy music via Google Play
  • play music on your playlist, and
  • play a video on YouTube.

Internet search results are presented in a card format that users can tap to open the page. Google Assistant integrated into the Google’s Allo messenger, Photos, and Play Music apps.

Other apps also on the list are YouTube, Spotify, Netflix, Uber are among the third-party apps that are currently supported.

The list will continue to grow as app developers take advantage of the open SDK platform released by Google.

To activate Google Assistant:

  1. Long press the home button.
  2. Tap continue on the "Meet your personal Google Assistant" screen.
  3. Tap yes, I'm in on the next screen to allow permissions.


Yooralla's Communication & Assistive Technology team can support you to use the latest technology to communicate, move and enjoy life, further empowering you to live the life you choose. Find out more about Yooralla's Communication & Assistive Technology services.

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