Google adds travel functions and song identification to Google Now

Summary:Google continues to improve Google Search/Now and the latest update arrives in time for holiday travel. The song identification function is also quite useful.

Google adds travel functions and song identification to Google Now

One of my favorite features of the latest versions of Android is Google Now. I was pleased when Google added sports teams and movies and then yesterday Google posted info about another update that includes travel destination weather, automated boarding pass info (starting with United), local events, song identification, product scanning, and Google+ update support.

I updated both the Samsung Galaxy Note II and HTC Droid DNA and then took the new version of Google Now for a spin. I can't test all the functions because I am not traveling right now, but I did test some of the other functions and I am unfortunately seeing some of the problems with a fragmented operating system.

To identify a song (something like what Shazam does) you simply tap the voice search microphone, state "What's this song?", and then you will see a few rows of gray dots that change as your device listens and analyzes the song being played. If the song is available in the Google Play Store then it will be identified and you will get the option to purchase it at the store. This worked wonderfully on the Galaxy Note II (with TouchWiz) and it regularly only needed a few seconds to identify the song. However, on the HTC Droid DNA (with HTC Sense) you will see an error reading, "This action is not supported on this device." I understand that prior to this error the Droid DNA would actually show a force close and kick you out of Google Now.

If you have an Android 4.1 or later device then you can download the new version of Google Search and give it a try. Google Now keeps getting better and better while Apple's Siri doesn't change often. I personally use Google Now much more than I do Siri and with added functions like this I will use it even more.

Topics: Mobility, Android, Google

About

Matthew Miller started using a mobile devices in 1997 and has been writing news, reviews, and opinion pieces ever since. He is a co-host with GigaOM's Kevin Tofel on the MobileTechRoundup podcast and an author of three Wiley Companion series books. Matthew started using mobile devices with a US Robotics Pilot 1000 and has owned over 200 d... Full Bio

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