One of the most exciting things shared at Google I/O this year is some major improvements to their Google Now voice search functionality. In fact, they made it clear their intention is to eventually eliminate "search as we know it." The keynote speaker for the Google Now service made it clear that his dream since childhood was to create a computer experience in which the user communicated via voice with the device, just like in "Star Trek the Next Generation" TV series. The Google Now team has evolved the product to a whole new level, and although we aren't quite to the Star Trek level of things, the new functionality is dramatically closer than before.

For folks who have had the pleasure of using Google Now, it is an amazing and truly useful tool, but it's new functionality takes that much further. The demonstration shared several new focuses and features for the service.

First, they updated the intelligent search feature “knowledge graph,” and it now attempt to anticipate future searches based on past and current queries and your location. It now offers a much more personal experience as well. One of the examples in the demo found our user asking Google Now in plain conversational English a number of useful questions, including flight times, geographic locations and features, and much more. It can even interpret your intent and offer information without you sharing very many details in your query.

Google also added a hands-free conversational search to the Chrome browser, and users can start the voice recognition software with a simple, "okay Google." Google responds with a search result and an audio answer. It can even display cards in your browser after a search to allow you to categorize better.

Ultimately, describing this functionality is much less impressive than seeing it demonstrated. Eventually Google will likely make the keynote video available and when they do, be sure to start watching at about the 2 minute mark to see the new Google Now functions demonstrated in real-time. It's amazing how far we have come toward fulfilling that dream of voice communicated control of our devices.

Source: Google I/O