Last week, we saw Google deliver an update to Google Search, gaining support for UK English and putting some changes in place that sure seemed to hint at broader availability of the Nexus 5′s launcher (picking up the name “Google Now Launcher” in the process). What we didn’t get, though, was much in the way of new functionality – even the official release notes only mentioned general bugfixes and tweaks. As it turns out, we didn’t have to wait long for Google Search to learn a new trick, and today Google announces that the app’s voice recognition is learning to recognize contacts based on their relationship to you.
That means that instead of saying “send a text message to Jane Doe,” you can say something along the lines of “send a text message to my sister.” Google may need your help to clarify whom you’re talking about the first time you attempt to use such a label, but once it sorts out how your contacts relate to you, future operation should proceed smoothly.
While it’s just a small change, it’s little things like this that will ultimately make voice control for our phones feel as natural as talking to a real person; we may a long way off from stuff like in the film Her, but changes like this represent steps in the right direction.