Search engine use is currently one of the two most popular internet activities worldwide, and it’s easy to see why. Where an old-fashioned Google search used to require careful phrasing and involved punctuation techniques, smartphone users can just hit a mic button and ask their phones a question. Even if a query is poorly phrased, Google can usually still come up with a good answer.
Google has evolved to become the mobile equivalent of an extremely brainy personal assistant, with access to all the information the internet has to offer. As users get more and more used to getting information with a single question, Google’s next move shouldn’t come as a big surprise. The newest update to the mobile app will allow users to check the status of their bills, right from their search engines.
Once users download the newest version of the Google app, they just have to tap the mic and say “Show me my bills” or “my bills due this week.” The Google app will quickly search your Gmail account for any billing notifications, and a quick summary will pop up in your search results. Google hopes that the new feature will help users pay bills on time and maintain good credit standing.
The feature also requires users to enable Google Now, Google’s virtual personal assistant app that can also notify users of weather reports and traffic conditions, among other things. This will actually be advantageous to users concerned about privacy: they won’t be automatically opted into this feature, since they would have to manually enable Google Now and give it access to Gmail.
The new Google feature comes with a subtle re-branding: the Google Search app is now simply called Google, as part of the search engine app’s transition into an all-in-one tool. It’s a smart move on Google’s part, since the bill function is also an incentive for people to switch email functions to Gmail.
At the moment, there are no plans to introduce a desktop equivalent to the Google app, and it remains unavailable to Windows and Windows Phone users.