Updated 12/2/15: Added Google Now's ability to read back your text messages.
You pick up your phone and say “OK Google”... and then what? Your phone is listening. The microphone icon is pulsing. What do you say to your phone? What can you say to it? Google Now’s voice function has become surprisingly robust over the years.
Here’s a list of just about everything you can say to Google Now. Try experimenting with different phrasing, you’ll be surprised how much it understands. The part of the phrase in [brackets] can be replaced with any similar term you choose.
If Google Now doesn’t get your spoken commands right, you can correct it by saying “No, I said...” and trying the phrase again.
- How old is [Neil deGrasse Tyson]?
- Where was [Louis C.K.] born?
- Define [colloquial] (Or “What does [colloquial] mean?”)
- What time is it in [Tokyo]?
- Search for [photography tips]
- Show me pictures of [the Leaning Tower of Pisa]
- Do I need an umbrella today? What’s the weather like? What’s the weather in [New Orleans] [this weekend]?
- What the [Google] stock price? What is [Apple] trading at?
- What’s [182 yards] in [miles]? What is [12 ounces] in [liters]?
- What’s  divided by [7.5]? (A great many types of math equations will work.)
- Search [Tumblr] for [cat pictures] (more apps are added to this search-within-apps function all the time)
- Open [greenbot.com]
- Take a picture (“Take a photo” also works)
- Record a video
- Open [Spotify]
- Turn [on / off] [Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Flashlight]
- What’s the tip for [123 dollars]?
- Set an alarm for [6:30 am]
- Set a timer for [20 minutes]
- Create a calendar event: [Dinner with Glenda, Saturday at 9pm.]
- Remind me to [buy coffee at 7am] (try locations! Remind me to [buy coffee filters at Walgreens])
- What is my schedule for tomorrow? (also: What does my day look like [Friday]?)
- Where’s my package? (tracking confirmation must be in Gmail)
- Make a note: [update my router firmware] (also try “Note to self:” This works with multiple apps, and you can even email yourself!)
- Find [Florence Ion’s] [phone number] (Works with all info in your contacts - addresses, birthdays, etc.)
- Show me my bills. (or: My bills due this week.)
- Show me my last messages. (Then follow voice prompts)
- Call [Jon] (also works with relationships: Call [sister])
- Call [Cartman] on speakerphone
- Text [Susie] [great job on that feature yesterday] (also works with relationships: Text [mom] [I’m not going to be able to pick you up from the airport, period, I’m a bad son, period])
- Send email to [Robert Baratheon], subject, [hunting], message, [I don’t think you should drink so much when you go hunting, period]
- Post to [Twitter]: [Oh my god the Red Wedding episode!]
- What is French for [I am Charlie]?
- [Send a Hangout message] to [Dad].
- Send a [Viber] message to [Derek]: Hang on, I'm going to get more coffee. (works with WhatsApp, Viber, WeChat, Telegram, and NextPlus)
Navigation and Travel
- Where is the nearest [sushi restauraunt]?
- Navigate to [Willis Tower, Chicago]
- Directions to [Fisherman’s Wharf] by [bike] (also try “Directions home” or “How do I get home?”)
- Where is [the Louvre]?
- Show me the menu for [Green Chile Kitchen]
- Call [Asian Art Museum]
- Show me my flight info
- Where’s my hotel?
- What are some attractions around here?
- How do you say [good night] in [Japanese]?
- What is [50,000 yen] in [dollars]?
- What’s the flight status of [United] flight ?
- Show me restauraunts near my hotel -or- Give me directions back to my hotel (this works if your hotel confirmation was sent to your gmail account)
- Play some music (opens “I’m feeling lucky” radio station in Google Play Music)
- Next Song / Pause Song
- Play [Happy] (songs must be in Google Play Music on your device)
- Watch [The Lego Movie] (movies and TV must be in your Google Play account)
- What’s this song?
- Listen to TV
- What songs does [Pharrell] sing?
- Read [Hunger Games]
- Did the [Giants] win today? What’s the score in the [Warriors] game?
- What movies are playing [tonight]? Where is [Toy Story] playing?
Fun hidden stuff
Many of these deliver funny voice responses, but normal search results. Turn up your sound!
- Flip a coin
- Roll dice (rolls a single six-sided die)
- What is the loneliest number?
- Do a barrel roll!
- Askew / Tilt
- Go go Gadget [Spotify]
- When am I?
- Make me a sandwich
- Sudo make me a sandwich
- Who’s on first?
- Up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right
- Tell me a joke
- Who are you?
- Beam me up, Scotty!
- What is [Jennifer Lawrence’s] Bacon number?