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

T-Mobile BYOD plans: everything you need to switch

T-Mobile BYOD plans: everything you need to switch

We answer all your questions about bringing a phone to a T-Mobile plan.

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 early upgrade plan.

Mexico and Canada: the best calling, texting and roaming plans compared

Mexico and Canada: the best calling, texting and roaming plans compared

Whether you're heading to Canada or Mexico, or looking to call either country...

 

Related News

Samsung Galaxy S7 Feb 21 Announcement: What to Expect

Samsung Galaxy S7 Feb 21 Announcement: What to Expect

Whatever we end up getting, Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge plans will hopefully cost no...

Buy one phone, get a second half-price with T-Mobile

Buy one phone, get a second half-price with T-Mobile

T-Mobile's Half-Off Smartphone Event gives you two iPhones (or selected...

Motorola Mobility Changing its Name

Motorola Mobility Changing its Name

"Moto by Lenovo" does have a certain ring to it, we're just not sure what kind

Samsung Galaxy S7: Rumored Pricing, Specs, and More

Samsung Galaxy S7: Rumored Pricing, Specs, and More

The Galaxy S7 is probably coming in late Feb, what else do we know?

 

Guides

How to Create and Share GIFs With Google Photos

How to Create and Share GIFs With Google Photos

Turning your images in to GIFs is amazingly easy in Google Photos, sharing them...

 

Compare phones & plans from the following carriers...

Cricket Cell Phone Plans AT&T Cell Phone Plans Ting Cell Phone Plans Straight Talk Cell Phone Plans Republic Wireless Cell Phone Plans GreatCall Cell Phone Plans
Sprint Cell Phone Plans MetroPCS Cell Phone Plans Simple Mobile Cell Phone Plans U.S. Cellular Cell Phone Plans ROK Mobile Cell Phone Plans TracFone Cell Phone Plans
T-Mobile Cell Phone Plans Boost Mobile Cell Phone Plans RingPlus Mobile Cell Phone Plans Page Plus Cell Phone Plans Virgin Mobile Cell Phone Plans Pix Wireless Cell Phone Plans
Verizon Wireless Cell Phone Plans Freedom Pop Cell Phone Plans TextNow Cell Phone Plans Total Wireless Cell Phone Plans H2O Wireless Cell Phone Plans REAL Mobile Cell Phone Plans
The People's Operator Cell Phone Plans US Mobile Cell Phone Plans Net10 Cell Phone Plans AmazonWireless Cell Phone Plans CREDO Mobile Cell Phone Plans Tello Cell Phone Plans
 

Cell Phone Deals

Galaxy Grand Prime for $79.99 with Cricket Wireless activation

Galaxy Grand Prime for $79.99 with Cricket Wireless activation

Awesome Android phone for just $79.99 when you join Cricket Wireless

$100 of the Samsung Galaxy S6 with Cricket Wireless

$100 of the Samsung Galaxy S6 with Cricket Wireless

Just $499.99 when you bring your number to Cricket Wireless

BYO Phone to Cricket for 5GB for $45/mo with AutoPay

BYO Phone to Cricket for 5GB for $45/mo with AutoPay

Bring your own compatible GSM device to Cricket Wireless and Save

NEW! Compare 2 Lines for T-Mobile's New Unlimited Family

NEW! Compare 2 Lines for T-Mobile's New Unlimited Family

How do the new plans stack up against competitors for 2 lines?