Users of Google Now on Android will notice that the app has received an update, bringing with it an interesting new WhatsApp related feature as well as support for other third-party messaging services.
Fans of Google Now will know that prior to this update it was possible to ask the app to send a message to a contact via the “OK, Google, send a message to x” instruction. Such a command would see Google Now use the default messaging app to send the message, but this new update allows users to specify which app should be used with WhatsApp, Viber, Nextplus, WeChat and Telegram all supported in English. According to Google, more apps and additional languages are also on the way.
In order to use the new feature, users need to use a slightly modified command such as “OK, Google, send a WhatsApp message to x” which should see, you guessed it, a WhatsApp message created with the recipient set to whoever’s name was at the end of the command. It really doesn’t get much easier than that and makes the task of sending a message via third-party apps easier, especially if you’re a fan of voice commands.
Google Now’s new integration with WhatsApp and other instant messaging services will be welcomed by those in countries where traditional SMS isn’t used as much as it is elsewhere, and while it may seem like simply scratching the service, it’s a step in the right direction towards Google Now controlling more of the Android experience. With Google’s Android M on the way, bringing Google Now on Tap with it, things are looking up for one of the best digital assistant implementations around. Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana should take note – the competition isn’t standing still.
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