On a drive home last week I remembered that I had to get some supplies for the regular “Dad Camp” that I take my son on twice a year. It’s a weekend away with a number of other dads where we completely ban gadgets and take the kids on a break away somewhere. There’s “no mums allowed” and we basically go for a good walk, make camp fires, put tents up and muck around in the countryside. There’s definitely no beer whatsoever involved in all this, honest.
Before all this kicked off, I was driving home from work and realised that I hadn’t got the marshmallows. They’re a key ingredient to any camping trip and I needed to get them, pronto. I knew that the mighty B&M Stores had some, and they were the big American ones.
Driving and using your phone is a big no-no, but sadly far too many people do it.
I’m trying to limit any phone involvement while I’m driving, but being able to do things like sending WhatsApp messages without touching or looking at the screen is definitely something I like to do, so I’ve started using OK Google again. It’s been a little while since I used it last and I’m properly surprised with how easily it understands me and how intelligent it’s become. There’s a big list of commands for OK Google but I prefer to just “wing it” and hope that I’ll get a fairly concise and correct response.
I’ve enabled OK Google from any screen, so it’s listening for the “OK Google” phrase all the time. This means I’m not faffing with my phone at all, which is a good thing, and I simply said, “OK Google, where’s the nearest B&M Store?”
It found it without a problem, so I then said, “Navigate me to the nearest B&M Store” and I asked when it was open until. All of this flowed brilliantly and Google remembered my previous questions so that it became more of a conversation than a forced set of commands.
Indeed, if you say something like “What’s the weather going to be like today” and then say something like, “What about in Birmingham?”, it’ll remember that you previously asked about the weather and will tell you about the weather in Birmingham.
It’s more natural and fluid now. In France you could say, “OK Google, How to say ‘Take me to the airport’ in French” and then you can head home and said, “OK Google, Call the nearest pizza place” for some food. I also use it lots to send myself reminders and set appointments. It’s great for remembering things, because stuff tends to pop into my head when I’m driving, only for it to fall out of my head again when I get home.
Here’s a video showing this in action…
Give it a try. It’s a whole lot safer and simpler than trying to use the phone when you’re supposed to be driving. :) Integrated apps include Shazam (“Shazam this song”), TuneIn (“Open TuneIn in car mode”), WhatsApp (“Send a WhatsApp to Billy”) and more.
Anyone know how to have your WhatsApp messages read out loud? I’m going to give ReadItToMe a try, but it’d be great if this was available through the OK Google system too.