Now Android users can use ‘Ok Google’ to send messages via WhatsApp, WeChat and Viber
Feeling bored to pick up the phone and type out a reply. Well, now you don’t have to. Using the simple ‘OK Google’ voice command, you can now send messages through WhatsApp, Viber, WeChat, and a variety of other apps, to your friends and near, dear ones.
In April, Google had launched custom voice action command, that allowed users to control select third-party apps simply by starting with the “Ok Google” command. Until now, this has used Hangouts, Google’s default texting application on Android. Google has now updated their Android-based voice-command system and expanded that functionality to messaging apps, including WhatsApp, Viber, WeChat, NextPlus and Telegram.
This upgrade comes to the base version of the Google Now Launcher, which is available in the Google Play app store to most devices released within the last couple of years. This update requires only the newest version that you have of all apps involved, and let’s users send messages quickly through a variety of free apps by saying, for example, “OK Google, send a WhatsApp message to John”, after which you will be asked to dictate the contents of that message. However, if either of the apps are outdated, you’ll just get an error message or a bunch of search results.
In addition to this update, the Google Now launcher allows users to send text messages, emails, and Hangouts messages via the “Ok Google” voice command.
This will work from your home screen like all Google Now features, if you have listening activated. Alternatively, you can just go into the Google app and start speaking, or use the Google Now shortcut, if you have an Android device with software-rendered buttons.
This functionality is only available in English; however, the good news is that it is not limited to the U.S. as is often the case with new Google features. The company says it will be working to add more apps and languages “in the future.”
In January, Google upgraded its main Android app with a big improvement to Google Now: Serving cards from third-party apps right when they have timely information to provide. Initially, the new functionality was supported by 40 apps, and in April, Google added 70 more apps to the mix.
This integration from Google is thus part of a broader push from it on mobile that it is not just restricted to voice commands. By opening up its Google app to third-party services, the company is not only providing users with more features but also providing them with an experience they cannot get anywhere else.