Use Google Search Bar to do (nearly) everything on your phone

Summary: Stop using your phone like you've never seen one before. We'll show you how to navigate Android like a pro.

By |

If you assumed that the Google Search Bar on an Android phone is just for starting a new web search, you’re in for a pleasant surprise. With leaps forward in Google Now and its Voice Search capabilities, the Search Bar can be the first place you go to start any task on your handset.

For the purpose of this article, we’re going to refer to typing phrases into the Search Bar, but remember that you can always speak them too, using the microphone icon.

Launching apps

You can launch any application on your phone through the Search Bar. Start typing the name of the app, and Search will dig up apps in your phone with the same letters in the title.

Searching on your phone

By default, the Search Bar will search the web to find matches for a phrase you enter, but you can also use it to search your phone for content you have stored locally. Just type the search phrase, then scroll down and hit the [Search Phone] option.

Make calls, send messages/emails

The major core features of your phone can be handled by Google Search too, using the same simple commands you would expect.

“Call Santa Claus”

“Message [or Email] Santa, I want a bike for Christmas”

With the call and email commands, you can even use names that are not in your Address Book, like business names, and if Google can figure it out, it’ll complete the action.

Reminders

Perhaps the coolest task performed by Search is also one of the simplest and least used. Setting a reminder is a piece of cake: you just type in ‘Remember’ or ‘Remind me’ plus what you want to remember and a time.

“Remind me to put the bins out at 6pm”

You can also use a place rather than a time, and Google Search will use Maps to figure out what you are talking about. The phone then uses your location to detect when you are close to the specified place.

“Remember to buy juice when I’m at Walgreens”

If Google Search doesn’t find the right place, you can manually pick the location off a map. Also, in the Settings of Google Search you can input your Home and Work addresses to use as shortcuts later.

Navigation

In car use is obviously a big part of why you might use Google Search, and especially the voice search feature. There are a few ways to start off a search like this.

“Navigate to Home”

“Directions to Home”

“Walking directions to Home”

“Bike directions to Home”

As with calls, if you use the name of a business or landmark in a navigation search, Google will take you straight there if it can figure out what you mean.

Calendar entries

Typing either ‘Create a calendar event’ or ‘Schedule a meeting’ plus the meeting details will create a new entry in your calendar.

“Create calendar event for my birthday on December 25 at 9am”

Set an alarm

You can easily set an alarm by typing “Set an alarm for 9:30am”

Play and identify music

Tapping into Google Music, you can play a track or artist using Search. Just type "Play" and then the name of a track or artist.

You can also use Search to identify a song you are listening to that you don’t know the name of. Just type, “ What’s this song” into Search.

Answering thousands of questions

Google Search is, at its core, a gateway to Google’s online search tool, and many other the enhancements you get on a desktop computer, you also get on your phone — including Search Cards with instant answers. Here are a few examples:

“What is 3 feet in centimetres?”

“How long is Return of the Jedi?”

“What time does McDonald’s close?”

“Show me pictures/a video of cats on treadmills”

“Weather” — you can make this command cuter with “do I need an umbrella tomorrow?” if you like, but just typing weather will do.

“Define tumescence”

Coming soon

One thing that the Google Search app can do at the moment is toggle hardware component between different states, like turning Wi-Fi or Bluetooth on and off. Apparently this is planned for a future release, but it is one big part of using your phone that you will have still have to do the old fashioned way for now.


Tagged:


News by Topic

Phone Reviews

Featured

5 cell phone plans that will save you money right now

5 cell phone plans that will save you money right now

If you're tired of the upgrade cycle and want to save on your phone bill, here...

AT&T Next: A guide to its early upgrade plan

AT&T Next: A guide to its early upgrade plan

A look at AT&T's Next plan for customers wanting to upgrade their device early.

Early upgrade plans for the iPhone 6: which one should you choose?

Early upgrade plans for the iPhone 6: which one should you choose?

If you're already thinking ahead to the next iPhone in 2015, an early upgrade...

 

Related News

Google launches Inbox: a new way to sort your email

Google launches Inbox: a new way to sort your email

Google wants to change up the way you sort your mail. Currently invite-only.

Nexus 6 is still pretty cheap, even at almost double the price

Nexus 6 is still pretty cheap, even at almost double the price

The Nexus 6 has finally debuted. It's big and expensive for a Nexus, but that...

Samsung's Galaxy Note 4: where to get it and what you'll pay

Samsung's Galaxy Note 4: where to get it and what you'll pay

Don't care about Apple? The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 can be pre-ordered from...

This gadget lets you check your phone while you're driving - safely

This gadget lets you check your phone while you're driving - safely

Navdy adds a heads-up display to your car for safer and futuristic driving.

Step aside, Amazon: your future Twitter feed will also be your online store

Step aside, Amazon: your future Twitter feed will also be your online store

Twitter is trialling an in-app purchasing system for iOS and Android, finally...

 

Guides

Disable auto play videos on Facebook for Android and iOS

Disable auto play videos on Facebook for Android and iOS

Sick of videos in your News Feed playing automatically? Don't worry, you can...

Transferring phone contacts from Android to iPhone

Transferring phone contacts from Android to iPhone

Switching from one phone to another doesn’t mean that you have to lose all of...

 

Compare phones & plans from the following carriers...

Sprint Cell Phone Plans AT&T Cell Phone Plans Boost Mobile Cell Phone Plans Republic Wireless Cell Phone Plans Straight Talk Cell Phone Plans TextNow Cell Phone Plans
Verizon Wireless Cell Phone Plans Virgin Mobile Cell Phone Plans Cricket Cell Phone Plans RingPlus Mobile Cell Phone Plans U.S. Cellular Cell Phone Plans Ting Cell Phone Plans
T-Mobile Cell Phone Plans MetroPCS Cell Phone Plans AmazonWireless Cell Phone Plans ROK Mobile Cell Phone Plans Simple Mobile Cell Phone Plans Red Pocket Cell Phone Plans
 

Cell Phone Deals

HOT DEAL: Galaxy S3 16GB for $99 from TextNow

HOT DEAL: Galaxy S3 16GB for $99 from TextNow

With cell phone plans starting from just $18.99

NEW: Amazing right size cell phone plans from Ring Plus

NEW: Amazing right size cell phone plans from Ring Plus

A range of new plans including 300MB of data and 400 mins for under $10/month

How to Compare Family Plans

How to Compare Family Plans

Step by Step guide on how to compare family plans

NEW: Unlimited Music and Mobile for $49.99/mth

NEW: Unlimited Music and Mobile for $49.99/mth

Get unlimited talk and text, 5GB of high speed data AND an awesome music service for one monthly price