Android

Pro tip: Correcting Google Now

Jack Wallen shows you how to correct Google Now when it gets your search string wrong.

Correct Google Now

How many times have you used "Okay, Google..." to locate something, only to have the system hear you incorrectly? For example, you want to know something about Santa Maria, but Google Now assumes you want to know about Santa (as in Santa Claus). So, you have to go through the whole process again. Right? Wrong. Although Google Now is most often spot on with your voice search, there are times when it simply doesn't understand you.

Thankfully, Google anticipated this and included the ability to correct Google Now very easily. Don't assume Google Now will learn from its mistakes. If it doesn't hear you correctly, it will search for the wrong information. But with a simple command, you can have Google Now correct the search item and display the right results. Here's how you do it.

Let's stick with our example of Santa/Santa Maria. You speak the phrase "Okay, Google... what is Santa Maria?" For some reason, Google Now only hears "Santa" and displays those search results (Figure A).

Figure A

Figure A

Google Now results on a Verizon-branded LG G3.

While Google Now rattles off the answer, you can follow up by saying "Okay Google..." and then correct the search app with "No, I said Santa Maria." Google Now will then correct itself and display the results you were actually looking for.

If you're impatient and don't want to wait for Google Now to finish rattling off about Santa Claus, you can tap the blue speaker button to stop the voice. Once the voice is silent, you can correct Google Now.

Also, if you don't have the "Okay, Google..." hotword detection on, you might want to do that to make voice searching with Google Now even easier. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Open Google Now
  2. Scroll down until you see the menu button at the bottom
  3. Tap the menu button and then tap Settings
  4. Tap "Ok Google" hotword detection
  5. Tap the slider so that it's in the ON position (Figure B)

Figure B

Figure B

Turning on the "Ok Google" hotword.

Now you can simply speak "Okay, Google..." and the tool will open for you.

Google Now is an amazingly helpful and accurate tool that can make your mobile searching a lot simpler. When it does get you wrong, you can now correct the app without having to jump through hoops or start over.

What do you think? Is Google Now your go-to search tool? How do you make the most out of this personal digital assistant from Google? Share your experience in the discussion thread below.

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

2 comments
jeb.hoge
jeb.hoge

Yes, Google Now is definitely my go-to for information searches, although I don't always use the voice recognition part. One thing I've discovered is that if your data coverage isn't that good, sending a text request instead of a voice one is more reliable since it's uploading your voice to the server for recognition. And sometimes there's just too much "ambient noise" (read: noisy kids in my house) to make voice work; I've seen "daddy daddy daddy" show up as part of my search string before.

frylock
frylock

@jeb.hoge I thought Now did the voice->data translation on the phone, and only uploaded the resulting text translation to the servers? Although I can't remember where I heard that, I could easily be wrong.

But the ambient noise thing, yeah that's a problem. And I still feel silly talking to my phone like that.

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