One of the reasons I am not too fond of using voice commands is probably due to our Malaysian accent. No matter how clear or slow I speak, the AI records some gibberish at times, which can be a tad frustrating since I end up sounding like a broken record. However, there are certain things that can be easily done using Google now, especially more so when Android M rolls out. Here are some fun and interesting things you can ask Google Now to do, using the ‘OK Google’ wake up command.

#1: Set alarms, timers and notes

It may sound like a simple thing but most of us tend not to use it. I have to admit, since I’m quite lazy to keep touching and touching to get into the settings, I’ll usually just use voice commands to do it. One of my favorite usage? Setting timer when I am cooking so I can continue gaming without worrying about burning the pot. So far these easy to pronounce commands doesn’t produce some weird lingo. Setting reminders and notes is also quite simple; you just need to specify when you are using it for the first time, which app to take notes in.

What can you say?

.. Remind me to [call Boss] at [9am]
.. Set timer for [10 minutes]
.. Wake me up in [12 hours]
.. Remind me [when I reach home] to [call mom]

#2: Calling, messaging and emails

This is kind of a hit or miss; I reckon it depends on Google Now’s mood (seriously, can they change that name?), but generally it is still usable. Just don’t try using voice commands to call names like “Ah Beng” as it does have some problems detecting that. Names like Affendi or even nicknames like Sumomo can be detected though. I suppose it can learn, since after it detects some other name or word, you can manually choose a contact instead and hopefully the next time it can detect the same pronounciation to match with the name. Anyway, there are some apps that can be used with Google Now, such as Whatsapp, Viber and Telegram. Try these out and hope that it gets the names right. By the way, don’t speak long messages or you will get “Google can’t be reached at the moment.”

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What can you say?

.. Send [Whatsapp message] to [Warren]; [Call Marcus urgent]
.. Call [Andrew]
.. Send [SMS] to [Alex]; [Event at 8am tomorrow don’t forget]
.. [Email] [Andrew] [Hello (this is the subject)]; [Meeting tomorrow is cancelled (this is the message)]

#3: Currency and Conversions

Since our local currency is getting lower when comparing to the US Dollar, I have to convert everything in US$ back to our currency to see whether I can afford that cool new gadget or not. Instead of typing (me being lazy as usual), I just ask Google Now to convert the currencies for me according to the latest exchange rate. You can also convert measurements, which is convenient for us when changing to the metric system, and you can also do calculations which is great during a sale.

What can you say?

.. How much is [100 US dollar] in [Ringgit]?
.. Convert [5 inch] to [mm]
.. What is [150][minus][40%]?

#4: Easter Eggs

There are some really funny responses from Google Now you can try out just for fun. We tried in at the office and amused ourselves just for laughs.

What can you say?

.. What does the fox say?
.. What is your favorite color?
.. How much wood would a wood chuck chuck if a wood chuck could chuck wood?
.. What is the loneliest number?
.. Make me a sandwich
.. Up up down down left right left right
.. Beam me up Scotty!
.. Who are you?
.. Do a barrel roll

So, have fun trying out all these things and by the next upgrade, I hope Google would let us personalize Google Now to an easier name, or at least something with more personality like Siri or Cortana.