Google spoke at length about Google Now at Google I/O 2015, offering up information about what's next for Now in future versions of Android.
The company highlighted the focus of Google Now, saying that the virtual assistant will be looking at context, offering up answers and helping users take action.
Looking at context will inform Google Now to a much greater extent going forward and will offer users information in the moment. This is being dubbed "Google Now on Tap." For instance, the company showed off an example in which the user was listening to Skrillex. Wondering what Skrillex's real name was, the user was able to ask Google the question, "What is his real name?" Based on context, Google Now was able to determine that the "his" in the question related to Skrillex.
Google is also introducing a "tap and hold" feature in Android, enabling a user to hold down the home button in order to be offered Google Now information. For example, if a user gets an email about an upcoming movie from a friend, they can hold down the Android home button and Google will show the user times for the movie at the local theaters as well as reviews, actors and other information about the film.
Further highlighting the importance of context in Google Now going forward, the company offered up an example in which the user wanted to see a picture of a food he did not know how to pronounce, based on looking at a menu for a restaurant. Instead of having to copy and paste the text, the user took a shot at pronouncing the food and asked Google what it looked like. Based on the context, Google was able to figure out what the user meant despite the butchered pronunciation.
The fact that Google will be focusing so heavily on context going forward is certainly welcome for users, many of whom want to get more out of Google's "virtual assistant," which, unfortunately, seems to be treated more as a voice-controlled search engine than the personal assistant that it really could be.
The updates to Google Now will appear in the next version of Android, currently being dubbed Android M. Google also offered up a number of details about Android M, showing off six areas of improvement for the operating system. Users will enjoy being able to more tightly and easily control an app's permissions as well as being able to better control audio from the drop-down menu in Android.