Google Now was the better phone assistant, no AI or LLMs needed | Phones

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The other day I was manually entering upcoming events that were listed on a website into Google Calendar. Several years ago, I could just activate Google Now on Tap and have most of that information automatically filled.

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Today, neither Google Assistant nor its Lens integration have an equivalent feature. (I ended up split-screening on the Pixel Fold so I didn’t have to keep switching between Chrome and Calendar.)

Google’s in-progress plan to revitalize Assistant is by infusing it with LLMs (large language models), starting on mobile, which should mean Android. Hopefully that “supercharged Assistant” will be able to analyze what’s on my screen, find dates/times/locations, and offer to save it in Google Calendar for me.

It’s ridiculous, however, that we had that functionality 6-7 years ago and didn’t need the bleeding edge in computer science to get it. Other things Google Now on Tap could do:

  • “…if a friend emails you about seeing the new movie Tomorrowland, you can invoke Google Now without leaving your app, to quickly see the ratings, watch a trailer, or even buy tickets.”
  • “If you’re chatting with a friend about where to get dinner, Google can bring you quick info about the place your friend recommends. You’ll also see other apps on your phone, like OpenTable or Yelp, so you can easily make a reservation, read reviews or check out the menu.”
  • “…if you’re listening to Twenty One Pilots on Spotify, you can say “Ok Google, who’s the lead singer” and get your answer right away.”
  • Recognize flight numbers and show status
  • “…tapping and holding on your…

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