Hands on with Google's on-the-spot, 'geocontextual' search talents

Voice search is becoming more like a conversation, as Google uses your location and follow-up questions to deliver the information you want.

google geocontextual search
Credit: Derek Walter

Google just won’t rest until searching is like having a casual chat with your phone.

The Google search app will now tap into your location and previous search query to try and arrive at a better answer.

For example, if you search for “Starbucks,” you get the expected locations. But if you then follow up that search with “what are the hours” and Google will recognize that by "the hours", you’re talking about the coffee king, even though you didn’t mention it by name.

google search starbucks

Google recognized I was talking about Starbucks when asking, “What are the hours.”

The capabilities are even more powerful when you’re physically somewhere that Google recognizes. Theoretically you could ask, “what’s the phone number to this place” and Google could use your location to figure out the phone number or other details for wherever you happen to be.

Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Land got a more detailed look at the SMX Paris search conference. Google’s demo shows someone using the new “geocontextual” at various spots in San Francisco.

Since this is probably a server-side update, it may be live for you now. While the follow-up questions and pronoun recognition worked well for me, I haven’t been able to test out a search query while standing outside a building. As always with Google products, give it a try and see what mysteries you can unlock.

The story behind the story: Context is the key to the future of Android. Google showed how Now On Tap will be able to offer helpful information based on what actions you take in Android. Search continues to evolve as being the center of your digital life, instead of just an external tool you turn to. That’s also evidenced by Apple’s plans to power up Siri.

This story, "Hands on with Google's on-the-spot, 'geocontextual' search talents" was originally published by Greenbot.

To comment on this article and other PCWorld content, visit our Facebook page or our Twitter feed.
Related:
Shop Tech Products at Amazon
Notice to our Readers
We're now using social media to take your comments and feedback. Learn more about this here.