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

Best Verizon phones: updated list

Best Verizon phones: updated list

Verizon has the largest 4G network in the US, as well as the most subscribers....

Wi-Fi calling: who offers it and why you really want it

Wi-Fi calling: who offers it and why you really want it

If you're struggling to get bars on your cell phone network, you are a perfect...

Is T-Mobile's JUMP! plan worth it?

Is T-Mobile's JUMP! plan worth it?

We've compared the pros and cons of going with JUMP!, versus sticking to a...

 

Related News

Amazon jumps on the mobile payment train with Amazon Wallet

Amazon jumps on the mobile payment train with Amazon Wallet

Now in the US you can access your Amazon gift cards, loyalty cards and...

The Destiny companion app looks oh so cool

The Destiny companion app looks oh so cool

Second screen integration is definitely something we didn't see enough of at...

Sprint's LivePro: a hotspot, projector and Android device all in one

Sprint's LivePro: a hotspot, projector and Android device all in one

​Sprint has announced the release of a new and intriguing mobile hotspot that...

Take flash selfies with Sony's newest phone

Take flash selfies with Sony's newest phone

Finally, a phone that lets you take selfies in the dark.

Why Microsoft would bother with a Nokia Lumia Android phone

Why Microsoft would bother with a Nokia Lumia Android phone

Rumours of Microsoft working on a Nokia Lumia Android phone begs the question,...

Android and a sniper rifle make a dangerous duo

Android and a sniper rifle make a dangerous duo

Future wars may be fought over great distances, and Google's Android could be...

 

Guides

Disable WiFi scanning to extend battery life, for Android

Disable WiFi scanning to extend battery life, for Android

You don't have to completely disable WiFi to save battery life on Android.

How to find and use Emoji on your Android or iPhone

How to find and use Emoji on your Android or iPhone

Tired of sending messages using boring old words? Your phone probably has a...

How to change default apps in Android

How to change default apps in Android

Stuck using a sub-par 'default' application? We'll show you how to clear your...

How to set location-based reminders on your cell phone

How to set location-based reminders on your cell phone

Your phone can send you a reminder at a certain time or date, but you can also...

How to stream with AirPlay on Android

How to stream with AirPlay on Android

If you own the seemingly incompatible combination of an Android phone and Apple...

How to set individual ringtones for contacts on iPhone, Android or Windows Phone

How to set individual ringtones for contacts on iPhone, Android or Windows Phone

Setting a custom ringtone makes it easier to identify important calls without...

 

Compare phones & plans from the following carriers...

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

Cell Phone Deals

How to Compare Family Plans

How to Compare Family Plans

Step by Step guide on how to compare family plans

NEW Samsung GALAXY S5 - Compare Plans and Prices

NEW Samsung GALAXY S5 - Compare Plans and Prices

Compare plans from all carriers on the new Galaxy S5

NEW HTC One M8 - Compare Plans and Prices

NEW HTC One M8 - Compare Plans and Prices

Compare plans from all carriers for the new HTC One M8

Compare Share and Family Plans for 2 or more lines

Compare Share and Family Plans for 2 or more lines

Compare multi-line share plans for all phones and payment options