If you're a Google Now user, but you wish you had more power at your command, a 16-year-old developer named Ryan Senanayake has created a free app called Commandr that you must try. Once the app is installed, it will add the following commands to the Google Now system:
- Flashlight On/Off
- Wi-Fi On/Off
- GPS On/Off (some devices)
- Bluetooth On/Off
- Wireless Hotspot On/Off
- Pause/Resume music
- Previous/Next song
- Read unread SMS
- Read last SMS from contact
- Play Google Music playlist
- Chatbot (for Siri-like functionality)
- Cellular Data On/Off
- Read unread Gmail
- Raise/Lower volume
- Silence/Unsilence ringer
- Set volume to percentage
- Unlock/Lock phone
- Take a picture/Selfie
- Shutdown (root)
- Reboot recovery (root)
- Restart (root)
- Clear notifications (root)
- Wolfram alpha
- Send Whatsapp message
- Enable/Disable rotation lock
- Enable/Disable sync
- Night mode (disable Wi-Fi, data, and ringer)
- Enable/Disable Airplane Mode (requires root)
- Enable/Disable Car Mode
Commandr works out of the box (once it's enabled), so there's zero extra tweaking involved. And, with the help of Tasker, you can even add your own custom commands to the app.
Let's install Commandr and enable it so you can gain even more power with Google Now.
To install Commandr, follow these steps:
- Open the Google Play Store on your Android device
- Search for Commandr
- Locate and tap the entry by RSenApps Inc
- Tap Install
- Read through the permissions listing
- If the permissions are acceptable, tap Accept
Once the installation has completed, tap the Open button within the Google Play Store, and the Commandr welcome screen will appear. Swipe to the left to dismiss this window. You'll now be prompted to enable Commandr's accessibility service. Tap the Open Settings button (Figure A).
Enabling Commandr on a Verizon-branded Droid Turbo.
Within the Accessibility Settings window, tap Commandr for Google Now, and then tap the ON/OFF switch to enable the service (Figure B).
You're almost ready to empower Google Now.
After you turn the Accessibility Setting on, the Commandr settings window will open. Tap the Built-In Commands entry to see a full listing of the built-in commands. From here (Figure C), you can edit the command used to launch each feature by tapping the Edit button (pencil) and then changing the launch phrase.
The full list of Commandr commands.
A nice little hidden feature is Command Voting. While in the Built-In Commands window, swipe downward until you see the little stair icon at the bottom right corner of the window. Tap that icon, and you can vote on current commands being developed. The commands with the highest votes will be integrated into the app. You can also suggest a new command (while in the voting window) by tapping the plus sign [+] and adding your suggested command (Figure D).
Suggesting a command to the developer of Commandr.
Note: The developer of Commandr is always adding new commands to this very handy tool. This app is open source. If you're interested in the source, it can be downloaded here.
If you're looking for the fastest means of expanding what Google Now can do for you, you would be remiss if you didn't install this free app.
Do you make use of Google Now? If so, what's your favorite feature? Let us know in the discussion thread below.
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 jackwallen.com.