The 12 Coolest Tricks you didn't know you can do with Google Now, Siri & Cortana

 The 12 Coolest Tricks you didn't know you can do with Google Now, Siri & Cortana

  ET Bureau
Voice is quite underused on our smartphones. It's been getting way better at doing more stuff, recognizing different accents and doing everything a lot faster too.

Here's how you can do more with voice on your existing smartphones -- the only catch is that you need to know and memorize the correct voice commands.

So, here's over to things you didn't know you can do with Google Now, Apple Siri and Microsoft Cortana (available on both iOS and Android devices).

1. Google Now: Smart calling

Using the voice assistant to call a contact is commonly known. However, if you have added a relationship status of that contact (mom, dad, sister, brother) you can just say "Call Dad" and the voice assistant will automatically find and call the relevant contact. The same trick also works for contacts with nicknames. Read Less

2. Google Now: Language translation

One of the pain points while travelling can be language barriers. Even if the language is the same, pronunciations can be very different. When in doubt, launch the voice assistant on your phone and ask "How do you say in 'language'" For example, "How do you say water in Japanese?" Read Less

3. Google Now: Location-based reminders

Since 'Ok Google' works in conjunction with Google Now, you can use the service to quickly set location-based reminders. Just include the location or store name in your reminder. Like "Remind me to buy slippers when I get to Select Citywalk." When you visit the mall in question, your reminder will pop-up. Read Less

4. Google Now: Follow up questions

If you have asked a specific question to Google, you can also ask follow up questions. For instance, if you ask for "Movie review of Inception," you can follow it up with "Who is the lead actor in it?" -Google will automatically understand that you are talking about the same movie and answer accordingly. In the same way, if you ask "What's the weather like in Mumbai?" you can follow that up with "How about Delhi?" Read Less

5. Google Now: Text with other apps

Ok Google also works with third-party apps. If you're a heavy instant messaging user, you can use the assistant to send messages to a few compatible apps. Just say the following words: "Send a (app name) message to (contact)" followed by your message. This command currently works with apps like Viber, WhatsApp, WeChat and Telegram. Read Less

6. Apple Siri: Contextual awareness

This ability came in with iOS 9 -- let's say you were searching the web for a restaurant. You can ask Siri "When will it open?" and Siri will realise that 'it' means the restaurant you're looking for. Or if you get an email with some action required, ask Siri to "remind me about this."

Siri will figure out what app you were in when you asked and what you were looking at when it reminds you later, it'll open everything back to that same content. Read Less

7. Apple Siri: Sort through photo mess

Siri has access to your iDevice's photo album, so you can ask it to search for specific photos with a condition of time, place or album. For instance, you can ask "Show me photos taken on November 10 this year" or "show me photos of my trip to Agra." If you're an OS X user with 'faces' set up in iPhoto (and a synced iOS device), you can also ask Siri to search for photos of a particular person. Read Less

8. Apple Siri: Teach Siri your name

More often than not, our Indian names might be a bit of a tongue twister for Siri. When Siri calls you by name and doesn't say it correctly, say "That's not how you say Hitesh." Then Siri will ask you how to say it correctly and after a couple of tries, it should be a lot closer to the real pronunciation. This is in addition to asking Siri to call you whatever you like. Read Less

9. Apple Siri: Change settings & more

Rather than tap and swipe a few times to get where you want to, just ask. You can say "make the screen brighter," "cancel all alarms" and "Do not disturb" when you want to silence everything. If you can't find an app icon, just say "open calculator" or "Launch Kindle." If your hands are not free, just say "read my new messages." Finally, you can also use Google as a verb: say “Google the Museum of Natural History in London" Read Less

10. Microsoft Cortana: Location-based reminders

Quite like Google, Cortana can set location-based reminders for Windows 10 devices. You just have to speak out the reminder and the name of the location. The next time you visit that place, Cortana will show you the reminder once it recognizes your location. Read Less

11. Microsoft Cortana: Person-based reminders

This is something missing from both Google and Apple assistants. You can set Cortana to remind you of a certain topic when you speak to particular contact. When you call the tagged person, the reminder will pop-up on the screen. Read Less

12. Microsoft Cortana: Person recognition

Cortana comes with built-in voice recognition. This helps it create a personal voice recognition of your particular voice. This way only voice commands said by you are acted upon faster and other commands are ignored.


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