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Google Now Virtual Assistant to Get Some Nifty Features, Rumors Say


Reminding users when to pay their bills and where they parked their cars, Google Now will soon become even more helpful.

Faster than Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) Siri! More powerful than Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Cortana! Actually able to respond to search queries while Samsung's (OTCMKTS:SSNLF) version struggles to comprehend what was said!

Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Now is widely considered the most powerful virtual assistant in the mobile market. With each successive update, the software acquires new abilities and is able to understand more vocalized prompts to trigger a greater number of actions. And if rumors and some new lines of code are any indication, Google Now is about to gain a bunch of very nifty features.

First, Google Now is expected to recognize contextual information in other Google apps regarding appointments and ask users if they would like to add the event to their Google Calendars. Similar to an existing feature in Gmail, the "Inferred Event" feature would recognize, say, an invitation to go to the movies sent in Hangouts, which could be as casual as "Wanna catch a movie this Saturday at 5?" This would then invoke a message saying "Want this event in your calendar?" along with the date, time, and a snippet of where the inferred event came from. According to prerelease code strings, a user would also be able to edit the appointment before adding it to his or her calendar.

Google Now will also allegedly tie in data from the opt-in location-sharing feature in Google+ that can remind users when they're near a specific person. While current Google Now reminders can be triggered with parameters such as time and location (like "Remember to pick up some milk" when approaching a specified supermarket), "when" and "where" could possibly be joined by a third parameter: "who." A user could set a reminder to go off when she's with another person, and as long as both parties are sharing their locations, their proximity will invoke the reminder. Perfect for upcoming get-togethers with someone who owes you money!

Another extremely helpful reminder said to be under way is a new bill-pay card within Google Now. Also appearing in the prerelease code, evidence shows that Google Now will soon be able to, by request, remind users when certain bills are due, how much is owed, and the minimum amount required, as well as link directly to the site so the user can pay the balance. While many users will find these automatic reminders preferable to setting up an automatic bill pay, there are some who may find that such a feature crosses the line from "helpful" to "creepy."

However, the last rumored feature is slightly less "creepy" and far more useful: Google Now will reportedly soon remind users of where they parked. Substantiated by more lines of code, the rumor says the app will detect when a user leaves a car, offer up a pinned location on a map within Google Now, and likely provide walking directions back to the car. Although it's unclear how this unreleased feature will work, it will probably utilize background information already built into Android.

It's been less than two years since Google Now hit the scene with the release of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, vastly upgrading Google's limited voice-command functionality. However, it's already become one of the platform's best features and, from the looks of things, is about to get even better.

Also see:

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