If you are the owner of an Android phone, you might already have heard of or even used either, Google Now and / or Ok Google. You haven’t? Well, then it’s high time to activate them and take a closer look.
First off, even though a lot of people use the two terms as a synonym, they are not. Google Now is more or less what people see as Googles answer to Siri, though some may argue that it is a more ambitious take on the iPhone’s personal assistant / knowledge navigator. If you are willing to loosen up your privacy settings, it will not only answer your basic questions and google things for you but try to learn about your habits and anticipate what information you might want when.
Ok Google is the voice assistant that allows you to talk to your phone and makes using Google Now even easier and more comfortable.
How to activate Google Now & Ok Google
- First things first. Make sure you activate the assistant on your device. Depending on your phone you can do so by opening your Google app and tapping on the hamburger button > Settings > Feed > Enable the feed.
- Open the Google app once again and tap on the hamburger button > Settings > Voice >”OK Google” detection. Enable both, “From the Google app” and “From any screen”.
- Ok Google will now try to learn your voice, which is why you’ll be prompted to say “Ok Google” three times.
Set up Google Now
One of the first things you might want to do is
- open up the Google app to see your stream.
Just click on the home button for around 2-3 seconds et voila – you’ll see what Google thinks you might be interested in based on the information it has from your settings and your Google account.
- check out the Accounts & Privacy settings
Here you can decide which of your Google accounts should be used for the Google Search and showing your feed. You can also set nicknames for your contacts, manage the Google activity controls, and more. This is definitely not a bad place to start. To get there just tap on the hamburger button > Settings > Accounts & Privacy.
- get acquainted with the cards – the simple yet practical system that Google uses to give you all the information you never knew you needed.
In your Google app tap on the hamburger menu (you’ve been doing this a lot by now!) and choose Customize. This is where the fun starts. Depending on how much you want to share with Google Now you can add information like how you commute / get around, what kind of movies & TV shows you are interested in (only in supported countries), etc.
Take your time and look around carefully to make sure that everything is set up to your liking. Google Now will now automatically start to collect the data that will be presented to you while you use your phone as usual. Make sure you let the tool know which cards are interesting for you and which ones aren’t by clicking on the three points at the top right corner of each card.
That’s it – you’ve learned the basics of how to use and what do do with Google Now. Next time we will take a closer look at the different Ok Google commands so you won’t miss out!
By the way: The app is also available for iOS.