Google is tinkering away again with its search app, now letting you assign a relationship status to anyone in your address book.
The version 4.4 update expands the rollout of a nicknames feature, which allows you to tell Google to “call my wife” or “text my brother” by assigning those titles to your contacts. Simple nicknames like "wife" and "brother" have been in the Google app for a long time, but now you can seemingly arbitrarily assign as many nicknames as you want.
A Google support article details that it’s limited to English for now, but usually these features tend to expand to other languages.
Also, an APK teardown by Android Police points to further work with something called Trusted Voice, a component of Android’s Smart Lock feature. Potentially your phone may only perform commands if it recognizes your voice, which would keep others from activating it.
Another clue buried in the code is something called “Seamless Hotword.” There aren’t any key details, but it sounds like some additional voice commands or capabilities to customize them. We’ll keep an eye out for this if more information spills.
The impact on you: A lot of the hidden power in Android is inside of Google’s own apps. Give the nickname feature a try, and you’ll see how such customization is what makes Android so great. It’s also an indication at how Google is continuing to push the voice capabilities forward, freeing your hands from your device even more.
This story, "Google app update 4.4 lets you give all your contacts a nickname" was originally published by Greenbot.