Google Now gets Olympics cards and new commands

by: Jonathan FeistFebruary 8, 2014

sochi olympics game google now

The Google Now app… Excuse me, that is to say, Google Now within the Google Search app received new functionality today, bringing options for event reminders, new voice commands and quick access to the Olympics.

Google Now Contacts Approval

New voice commands let you make calls or send SMS messages to your contacts. As it strives to be your personal assistant, these commands accept some of the intelligent contextual uses found in Search. For example, say “call my sister” and as long as you have at least one person in your contacts designated as your sister, it will place the call. SMS can be triggered by saying “send text to Ted.” The app will confirm with you who exactly you are looking for should you have multiple Ted’s, or more than one sister in your contacts, the same as it will confirm the number if they have multiple numbers.

Not only can you do a little more with the voice commands, but a few new languages can now set reminders in Google Now. Welcome French, Japanese, Korean and, of course, German to the list. Just remember to avoid using the word alarm when setting a reminder, that triggers an entirely separate function.

Google Now Olympics Card

Event reminder enhancements allow you to designate your method of travel and the amount of time ahead of the event start time you wish to arrive at your location. This is especially great for getting to the airport in time for a flight, or just adding a buffer for those that like to push the limits.

The new Olympics card is filled with quick access to standings and news, then shows a chronological list of the next few events and their start times.

For the app that is named after the core of Google’s business, it is no surprise that as many as one billion users have Google Search installed. As Google continues to leverage its vast knowledge base to expand Google Now’s list of functions and continue to add enhancements like those we’ve received today, it should be no surprise that we expect a bright future for the service. If for some reason you do not have Google Search, head on over to the Play Store and grab your copy.

Do you see these features as helping shape the future of wearable tech? How many times per day do you “OK, Google” or “OK, Glass?”

  • Curdy

    My nexus 4 now has background listening so when you say “OK Google” the mic on Google Now turns on!!! :D :D

    • Aaron

      not if you’ve been using the gel launcher. ive had this since day 1 kitkat

      • Curdy

        What’s gel launcher? And I’m not sure because all I remember is getting an update yesterday evening, then discovering it works this morning..!

        • pritish

          G- Google
          E- Experience
          L- Launcher

          • Now known as

            G – Google
            N – Now
            L – Launcher

          • pritish

            Oh thanks for informing me know. I never knew that. (not being sarcastic)

          • Yeah, it’s actually kind of cool. Comes with a little splash screen now and everything.

  • nukular

    Are you sure those are new commands? I could have sworn that most of them (or all?) have been around for quite some time. Btw, I’m from Germany.

    • Jonathan Feist

      Hey nukular. These specific call/text changes are incremental, I admit. They are smarter and work directly now. But yes, voice command initiated call/text is not a new concept. That said, I’ve tested a handful of other “personal assistant” apps, Google Now, especially with these constant little tweaks, is by far my favorite.

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  • Luqmaan Mathee

    I’ve used those call commands already. What’s different now?

  • Jayfeather787


  • As mentioned by others, the text and call my sister thing are nothing new. I got passed down an SG3 and installed the Google Experience Launcher a week ago and the first thing I did with it was use voice to text and call people. Very awesome. So, it’s at LEAST a week old function that you only just now noticed. The Olympics cards I noticed two days ago, before they actually even started. As for Google Search being installed on a Billion users….well yeah, you cant UNINSTALL it. (Unless you root?). My old Lucid was ancient but even that had Google Search force-installed.

  • I’d use it a lot more if it was always on like the motoX

    • Jonathan Feist

      I suspect that functionality will become more and more available in the future.

  • Jonathan Feist

    Hello all, sorry for taking so long getting back to some of your questions – the differences in the Search app in terms of the voice text/call function are best explained in this article:

    Bottom line, the search app got the new functionality last week and Google has now launched the server side aspect of it. “Call mom” worked before IF the contact name was ‘mom’, but now you can enter just your mother’s actual name into Contacts and “call mom” will work.