Google's Voice Assistant Gets Smarter, and All the Other News You Missed

Uber upgrades its unfortunately necessary SOS button, the Apple Watch isn’t really as much to make as you think, and Google voice actions get waaaay better. BitStream is all the news and rumors you missed yesterday.


Google’s been updating a lot of its core services recently by adding the same feature—third-party apps. Earlier this week, Google Now cards received a fresh influx of partners (70 to be exact) and now Google voice actions is getting a similar treatment.

Detailed in a Android Developers Google+ post, Google is now offering support tie-ins so developers can create voice actions for certain apps. For example, you can now launch apps like NPR, Shazam, or TripAdvisor straight from the voice assistant. You can even take it a step further by giving a command after it opens the app, like asking Shazam to analyze a song or launching TuneIn but in car mode (as shown above).

Google says it’s only working with a select group of partners for now but will be “open it up more widely” in the future. With Cortana porting to the desktop and Google Now getting more convenient functionality, looks like we’re entering another mobile voice assistant showdown.

Here’s a few Google voice actions to get you started.

[Android Developers]

Apps and Devices

Uber’s SOS button in India, a response to a rash of illegal activity happening in hailed Uber cabs, will now send live GPS updates and driver/passenger information to local police. [Uber]

The cheapest Apple Watch will cost you $350, but it may only cost Apple $83.70 to make. [CNN Money]

The One M9 gets an upgrade so it can take advantage of RAW photo-taking capabilities. Why this wasn’t available at launch I have no idea. [Anandtech]


The Asus Zenfone 2 is making its way to the U.S. on May 18th. [Android Authority]


When Sony announced the Japan-only Z4 it felt a little...same old, same old. But new rumors say the new “Z4” may actually be called the Z3+ for the rest of the world. [Android Community]


This map of the universe spans 2 billion light years. Cartographers...get on this level. [Vimeo]


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The SECOND copy of the 1st Apple watch costs Apple $83.70 to make. The first one cost Apple half a billion dollars. I mean, we all know that Apple gets away with really high mark ups but once you factor in R&D, writing the software, making developer tools, handling warranty repairs and returns, marketing and adds, it’s not AS CRAZY.