Keep it coming, Google

Wed Feb 12, 2014

With my HTC One S being frozen at Android 4.1.1, I wasn’t expecting any more bug fixes. But Google is doing a great job of circumventing firmware upgrades by quietly updating their apps, which seem to handle a lot of the core services. For example, I’d given up on using Google Now in my car because using a bluetooth speaker with my One S just defaults to the horrid Cyberon Voice Commander app which seems to come pre-installed on most HTC phones.

But a recent update to Google Search has fixed this. Now when I’m driving I can ask how tall Brad Pitt is or whether I need an umbrella today, hands-free! Google has also allowed relationship tagging to be used in voice commands (for example, “Call my wife”), finally bringing the voice dialer experience in-line with what apple offers.

However, there are a few more Android goodies I’d like to see this year:

  • A unified contacts app. Burying contacts under an obscure Gmail menu is bad enough on Chrome, but no android app? Seems an obvious improvement to make.¬†Interestingly, it seems that Contacts was sidelined in the rush to release Gmail and never made it back into the priority list.

  • The official Google Now Launcher for all android phones. Sure, you can side-load it now, but I’m waiting for official support. My phone’s getting a bit bogged down with too many UI apps and elements in Nova, so I’d like to try simulating stock with the Google Now launcher, Google keyboard, etc. and see if I can speed up things a bit.

  • Google Play Music All Access for Canada. Mexico has it. The UK has it. Hell,¬†Australia, Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, and the United States has it too. So when is the True White North going to get a taste? Sure, I could sign up for Rdio, but I want in on that sweet $7.99 introductory lock-in rate. Let’s make it happen, Google!

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