Google has started rolling out a new feature to its Search app, making it easier for users to send an instant message via Google Now.
As a part of the latest Google Search app update, the Mountain View based tech giant has given users the ability to send text messages via leading third-party messaging apps using the 'Ok Google' voice-command. For instance, if users have to send a message to someone on WhatsApp, they can simply say "Ok Google, send a WhatsApp message to Josh: let's do dinner tomorrow night" and the launcher would send the message using the app. Users can also do it in two steps, saying "Ok Google, send a WhatsApp message to Joe," after which they'll get a prompt asking them to dictate their message.
We tried the feature, and while the one-step method worked fine, the two step-method throws up an error after opening a message reply card, saying 'Can't reach Google at the moment.', preventing dictation. Hopefully Google will roll out a fix soon.
Some of the apps supported by the new Google Now instant messaging feature are WhatsApp, Viber, WeChat, Telegram and NextPlus. It is worth noting that users should have the latest version of both the messaging app and Google Search app to use this feature. The search giant adds that this feature currently supports English language only, but would add other languages later.
Sunil Vemuri, Google Product Manager, in the blog post introducing the new feature, said, "With all of us spending so much time in apps, we've been working to add new ways to surface the right content from your apps at the right time. Over the past few months, you may have seen Now cards from many of your favourite apps and new waysto also get things done across your apps by just asking Google something, like 'Ok Google, Shazam this song' or 'Show me apartments for rent near me on Zillow.' So type less and speak more-your thumbs will thank you."
In April, Google collaborated with app makers to bring Google Now Card support for 70 new third-party apps. The apps are over and above the 40 third-party apps with Google Now integration that were initially announced in January. Some of the third-party apps supported are Circa News, Sleep as Android, Komoot, ABC News, Feedly, Eat24, Allrecipes, Runkeeper, Jawbone, Adidas, OpenTablet, Wunderlist and more.
Last month Google's Chrome for Android browser adopted what seems to be a basic version of 'Now on Tap' feature, dubbed Touch to Search. The feature lets users access extra details on any word displayed within the content.