Conversational search when travelling

Use Google app on your smart phone or tablet to find restaurants and bars nearby. Great for dinner reservations.  Works in Toronto. Just say – show restaurants near my home – and presto, Google gives map, names, and addresses.

Google Upgrades Conversational Search On Its Mobile Apps, Matt McGee, Search Engine Land (Oct 9)

Basically, the app is smarter about knowing where you are (at a hotel, for example), letting you complete actions by voice (i.e., making reservations via OpenTable), getting directions as part of the ongoing conversation you’re having with the app and getting reminders.

Predictive Search on your Smartphone

The future is nearly upon us. Smartphones come with very smart digital assistants. Google has been in the lead with Google Now on Android and iOS. Microsoft has launched Cortana available on Windows Phone 8.1 and Nokia phones. Danny Sullivan identifies the difference between the digital assistant and predictive search. Google Now, and to some extent, Cortana do both. Apple’s Siri only assists.

“Predictive search is easily confused with digital assistants. They’re not one-and-the-same. Siri, Google Now and Cortana are all digital assistants that will add reminders to your calendar or help you do certain things with your phone, like sending a text, playing a song or setting an alarm.”

Life With Cortana, Microsoft’s Predictive Search Challenger To Google Now & Siri, by Danny Sullivan, Search Engine Land (Jul 21)

Read on for detailed comparison and some tips on how to use Google Now and Cortana. Want one?

Bing for specific niches

Don’t think of Bing as a web search engine you don’t use: think of it as a platform you could use across Microsoft products and especially in MS mobile apps and Windows 8.

How Microsoft is differentiating Bing’s search service, BY GADJO CARDENAS SEVILLA, WHATSYOURTECH.CA vis Calgary Herald (Jan 28)

More recently, Bing’s portfolio of products has expanded into apps and services like Bing Maps, Bing Translator , Bing Weather and Bing News and Sports. …

This categorizing of search into specific niches allows for better targeting of intended users. On the web, these specialized sections and Windows 8 apps , manage to feel friendlier, more user targeted and lifestyle oriented.

Google Now in Chrome – soon

Soon we’ll be able to get Google Now notifications in the Chrome browser.

Richer Google Now notification system arriving in Chrome by Stephen Shankland, CNet (Jan 31)

The function gets a computer’s location, makes a request to a Google server based on that location, then shows the resulting notification “cards.” That will give Chrome and Chrome OS Android’s capability to show personalized alerts about weather, upcoming appointments and travel, nearby restaurants, and whatever else Google adds to its Now technology

Guide to using IFTTT

If This Then That –   — The Ultimate IFTTT Guide: Use the Web’s Most Powerful Tool. (Oct 10) by Albert Martinez at MakeUseOf.

The point is to use IFTTT to automate tasks at the computer in which you want one task – like having a photo you shoot with Instagram be automatically added to Dropbox. That is the example provided in this guide.

IFTTT has nearly 70 channels that include Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Youtube, SoundCloud, Dropbox, Evernote, Pocket.

Guide has a quickstart set of instructions for creating “recipes”, and provides many examples. Can use this to set up an email reminder to pay your rent – if this then maybe you can automatically send the bank transfer.