Many users of Google Now on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean devices awoke to a somewhat different screen of cards yesterday, summarising the number of miles they had walked over the past month.
That's right folks, secretly you may very well have been a beta tester for a new Google Now card, though, figures are apparently based on the position that Google Now transmits as part of day-to-day functioning and so no extra data has been transmitted from devices, though, we do wonder if an accelerometer was used at all to distinguish walking from say biking or automotive transport.
In a way, this card's pretty cool and at the very least, a pat-on-the-back or motivation to do more walking in the following month. It's believed that the card appeared now as the month ticked over, so that a full-month's data could be generated and compared, for this reason, many UK users of Android 4.1 may not yet see this card, however it's perhaps one to look-out for come December.
On another note, with relevance to Google Now voice search, Google has detailed its recent updates to its general voice search engine, exposing some of the inner-workings of the new system. The firm has compiled a database of over 230 billion google'd search terms and has calculated the probability of what a user may say next, improving the reliability of the system when it fails to understand a spoken word.
In practical terms, the new system is contributing to a reduction in word error rate of between 6 and 52 per cent, depending on the task and complexity involved.