Talk to Google like it's your best friend. Really, the search giant insists that with its improved conversational search functions, demoed at Google I/O on Wednesday, you'll be able to speak commands not just from your mobile device with the Google Search app, but also from Chrome on desktops, using less-robotic speech and receiving spoken responses from Google.
During the live demo, we watched Johanna Wright, vice president of Mobile, ask Google a series of questions about an upcoming trip to beach town Santa Cruz, CA, getting decidedly more human and conversational with each question. After asking Google for attractions and restaurants in Santa Cruz, when Johanna said, "How far is it from here?," the result that populated was directions from our location in San Francisco to Santa Cruz, showing the search algorithm's progression from understanding strict computer speak to more casual conversation using predictions to determine which locations the user is referring to.
Google Now, the personalized search function that might know you better than you know yourself, also received an update today in the form of reminders, public transit cards, and entertainment cards that populate based on your past preferences. These reminders will appear within your Now account based on when you've set a need for them. For example, a reminder to leave to catch a taxi may appear two hours before a scheduled flight. Just like a web search, Google says many of these notations can be made with your voice commands.