Conversational search on Google’s mobile apps got an upgrade today, as the company announced a few new voice commands that are specific to travel planning.
Basically, the app is smarter about knowing where you are (at a hotel, for example), letting you complete actions by voice (i.e., making reservations via OpenTable), getting directions as part of the ongoing conversation you’re having with the app and getting reminders.
Here’s how Google’s blog post explains the new features:
Step 1 — Find a spot for dinner. Just say, “Ok Google, show me restaurants near my hotel” — et voilà, you’ll get a selection to choose from. (You don’t even need to remember your hotel name, as long as your hotel reservation is saved in your Gmail, so Google has something to work with.) Is your date dessert crazy? Quickly make sure the restaurant has a good selection by just asking “Ok Google, show me the menu for the first one.”
Step 2 — Make a reservation. When you’ve found the restaurant you like, you can just say: “Ok Google, make a reservation there for 7 p.m.” If the restaurant is on OpenTable, you’ll see a reservations screen pop up with the details already filled out – no need waste those precious moments on hold with a restaurant.
Step 3 — Once the bill is paid and you’ve set your napkin down, find the perfect place for that after-dinner Manhattan. Just say “Ok Google, show me some bars near here” then follow up with a simple “give me directions to the first one.” You’ll be good to go.
Step 4 — Don’t fret the small stuff. The Google app can help you with the rest of your trip, too. Get reminders on where to pick up your rental car or (if you’re really getting away) when it’s time to leave to catch your flight. (It’ll even give you alternate options should your flight be delayed or canceled.) You might see your hotel reservation pop up as you walk out of the airport, get a notification about your dinner reservation—and even fun spots to explore and take photos.
Google has been heavily promoting the conversational search features on its mobile app with a series of popular “Ask the Google app” commercials that have been running for a few weeks on television, like this one:
Google says the new features announced today are available on both the Android and iOS Google app.