An exhaustive list of 'OK, Google' commands is exactly what we don't want

Someone put some serious work into this. Twenty-one categories so far. I don't know how many different commands. Basically everything you can ask Google, all in one place. It's wonderfully done, and one hell of a tool.

It's also exactly what we don't want.

Meet, if you haven't already, It's a brilliant little website by Kristijan Ristovski that pulls together all the commands you can bark at your Android-powered phone. (Providing that you're using one that has Google services. And if you're reading this, you probably are.) Here's how Ristovski puts things on the site's "About" section:

This is a list of commands that you can ask Google's voice assistant.Annoyed by the fact that every once in a while a new "complete list of google now commands" appears online, i decided to create this project.After few days of research i found an extensive list of over 150 commands and 1000+ variations. I'll try to keep it up to date, and in v2 i'll add an easy way for the community to contribute.

Open-sourced and community-fed? That's a big deal, and it's really going to make this sort of thing powerful. I can't stress that enough. This is very cool.

OK Google

But the point of all this voice-command stuff is, of course, to use your voice. If you have to consult a list of things you can ask a virtual butler, it's failed before it ever gets going. The variables are what should constitute the wall that Google (and Amazon, and Apple, and Microsoft) runs into — not the commands themselves.

And you might be surprised at how far Google's come already. Google is really good at entertainment questions. "What's the name of the new Matt Damon movie?" returns not just the new Jason Bourne flick, but other upcoming movies from the single greatest actor of our generation. Google's always been really good at locations, thanks to Maps. "What's the closest place to eat?" gets me the restaurant that's all of 50 feet outside my office.

The outliers are, by definition, always the hard part. Separate things into two groups — what you want to do on your phone, and what you want to learn with your phone, and you can start to see the divide, and where a list of commands makes more sense. Google largely knows what an Android phone can do. It made the operating system.

Predicting what you ever-inquisitive brain is going to want to know at any given time? (Or even better — figuring out the answer long before you asked the question.) That's the hard part, and there is no limit. The good news is that Google's getting really good at this. So much so that we a lot of the time we don't need to worry about what we ask it. And that's going only going to get better as time goes on.

Phil Nickinson