Google Now Gets Waze Integration; News, Website Update, What to Watch

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Google has announced a range of enhancements to its voice controlled digital assistant Google Now.

Top of the change log this time is the addition of Waze-powered traffic reports, allowing Google to not only tell you the best route home, but proactively warn you of delays that might keep you from your sofa a little longer.

Also new, the Google Now "News topic card" will alert you to interesting headlines. Or, you can get updates from a blog with the "Website update card".

Want movie or TV recommendations? Google Now has added a "What to watch card".

Also new: you can now set repeat reminders, get real-time rugby scores, and see when packages are ready for an in-store pickup.

The update also introduces a more natural, conversational tone to dealings with your phone, and the ability for your phone to ask for clarity where multiple options exist –all of which can be triggered with the brand new magic words "OK Google."

For the more hackingly inclined, there is another bonus. The new Google Experience launcher is buried in the code of the latest Google Now update, and by sideloading another small file called "GEL" you too can have some of the benefits that have previously been available only to Android 4.4 KitKat users.

Android seems to have been a proving ground for Google Now, but with "cards" now prominent in search results, persistent rumors of an iGoogle desktop successor, a smartwatch, and Google Glass, we could be spending a lot more time talking to inanimate objects in 2014.

This article was originally published on the Inquirer.

About the author

Chris Merriman is a freelance technology journalist. He graduated from the University of Sunderland a very long time ago. He got his first smartphone in 2003 and his first soldering iron in 1989. Before joining The INQUIRER, he divided his time between managing social media campaigns, music and tech journalism, radio presenting and DJing in London's glittering West End. His love of all things tech is inherited from his grandfather, who worked on NASA's Apollo program and used to keep discarded rocket prototypes in the garage to cannibalise for odd jobs round the house. Chris writes for technology publications including V3 and The INQUIRER.