Google Now

For as smart as Google Now is, it's often kind of... stupid. A great example of this was using it to set timers on your phone. Up until today, when you said "Ok Google, set a timer for 15 minutes" it would simply set an alarm for 15 minutes in the future. That wasn't all that useful, and it filled up your alarm list with a bunch of useless entries.

Now, with a server-side update to the Google Now service, asking your phone to set a timer will actually set a timer. Just like before you'll have a quick countdown after making the request to confirm the time, and you can even go more specific and add seconds to a timer. Once the timer is set, the clock app will launch and start counting down.

It's a pretty great feature, and one that should've worked right from the start, but we're glad everything's working as it should now.

Thanks to everyone who sent this in!

There are 41 comments

I will most definitely use this.

Vivian Lobo says:

Still sets an alarm to a random time...when asked for a timer.

Shreyas13 says:

It's not random, it's for x minutes after the current time, if you tell it to set a timer for 15 minutes it will set an alarm for 15 minutes from now, that's how it's worked up until now. As of now it's working where it sets the actual timer instead of the alarm. Some people had to do it a second time before it worked properly and then it continued to work after that.

Deke218 says:

Yeah, worked the second time for me.

tmitche2 says:

I'm running a galaxy s3 with GEL running on it, but mine (and I have done it a couple of times) still creates and alarm.

yentrog31 says:

Same here on stock

Shreyas13 says:

So, I commented on this story over at Android Police with something I noticed when trying this out. It works perfectly if you specifically say X minutes and X seconds, however, if you try to say something like, "set a timer for 1 and a half minutes" it will set a timer for several hours later. The little bit of testing I've tried on it looks like it sets the timer for about 12 hours later plus the minutes and seconds to land exactly on the hour. If you say, "set a timer for 2 and a half minutes" it will set the timer for 13 hours plus the minutes and seconds to land right on the hour and so on. Also, if you tell it to set a timer for half an hour it sets the timer for 1 hour and 30 seconds. So for the time being you have to be very specific when you set your timer. It's worth noting that this does seem to work properly with the alarm function, just not the timer.

Yeah looks like they still have work to do with some natural language recognition, as far as "one and a half minutes" for timers is concerned.

Jeremy626 says:

come on Andrew, you know you got this info from REDDIT!

YOU need to give credit to the redditor man..

seanjenkins says:

I think it's just a given that the stories come from Android Police, the verge or a press release

Posted via Android Central App

Jeremy626 says:

well, this one was on Android subreddit yesterday.

kind of messed up Andrew didn't put the source.

Ah, but do YOU really know he did?

If he got it from somewhere, then yeah, they need credit. But YOU have no idea where it came from.

Posted via Android Central App using an LG G2.

JohnnyAcks says:

Nice. I think that function will be getting a lot of use.

Posted via Android Central App


This was a mild annoyance for me but I like the way it works now.

PS. Andrew you were great on AAA this week.

dirtydog74 says:

I have an LG G2 and I disabled the default clock and am using Alarm Clock plus and when I say "Ok Google, set timer for 1 minute from now" it says it's setting a timer but at the bottom it says "No apps for setting timer."

When I ask to set an alarm it works fine with Alarm Clock plus. I'm guessing the timer only works with the default android clock?

I'm guessing it just doesn't work with alarm clock plus.

Posted via Android Central App using an LG G2.

dirtydog74 says:

I re-enabled the stock alarm clock and it works just fine. It must only work with the stock android alarm clock.

TenshiNo says:

I would be unlikely for them to expect that every app installed has an API to allow Google Now to achieve this. Possibly, in a future update, they might make it part of the core API so that all apps will tie into it, similar to what they did with SMS Messaging.

almath says:

Just sets an alarm *sadface

tdizzel says:

Thank you Jesus! This annoyed me to no end! If i was the typical whiner on this site i would've posted dozens of comments about how it was a deal breaker and i was returning my phone because of it. So happy for this Woohoo !

Posted from the Avengers: Age of Droid Ultra

shaytoon21 says:

amazing. google now is leading the way for actual smartphones

Siri did this correctly all along, so I used Siri. Now I don't have to!

machzk says:

Yeh for interactions with our phone SIRI is or was well ahead. I found Google now wanting in that aspect when I recently switched over. It has gotten a lot of updates since, included the not having to confirm a reminder with a touch input

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TenshiNo says:

Agreed. Google Now focused a lot more on the predictive stuff, then actually responding to immediate commands. I'm glad to see that they're shoring up functionality on the command front, now. It's going to be a *lot* harder to get the same functionality as Siri on an Android phone, though, simply because Google Now might not know exactly what it's dealing with. Potential for different apps and hardware means that we might never get the same level of "automated" device control on Android.

Who knows, though? Maybe Google will come up with some "standardized" event system with Google Now that *all* apps can tie into.

jcg5862 says:

Works like a charm. I can set a timer for X minutes and tell it to start all in one command. Well done.

Posted via Android Central App on my Moto X

ConTejas says:

Can't say I was ever bothered by Google Now "just" setting an alarm, but this makes a lot more sense after seeing it in action. I'll probably burn a few less things on the grill this year lol.

TenshiNo says:


cwmont13 says:

Just tried it on my new LG G2 stock non rooted and it works perfectly. Thanks for posting this.

from my LG G2 via the DeathStar

Wlctttrue says:

It took me three tries, finally worked.

BuJ_14 says:

I hated the old way

Posted via Android Central App

Does not work on my rooted Nexus S 4G running 4.3.1, even after repeated attempts. Always wants to use the alarm.

TexasNexus1 says:

OK Google put $1 million in my bank

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crxssi says:

>"For as smart as Google Now is, it's often kind of... stupid. A great example of this was using it to set timers on your phone. Up until today, when you said "Ok Google, set a timer for 15 minutes""

You need to correct this article. It has NOTHING to do with "Google Now" nor "OK Google". I have both turned off, and when I go into google search and press the mic button and say "set a timer for 15 minutes" my screen looks exactly like your screenshot.

Google search is not Google Now.
"Ok Google" is not Google Now.

TenshiNo says:

Touche. You're not wrong, but that is how most people think of Google Search, even if they don't have "Google Now" turned on.

Sunofabob says:

Nice. I didn't know it could.

AC App via Nexus 5

flychinook says:

I "accidentally" found this out earlier today, when I set a timer for a lasagna I was cooking. Very happy with the change.

Impulses says:

So now instead of cluttering up your alarm tab it clutters up the timer tab, yay? (unless you tap delete instead of stop)

BlueSauce says:

Sill uses the alarm for me.

mclasser says:

About time this came out.

Sent from my Nexus 5 via Android Central App

TenshiNo says:

I see what you did there.... ;)