Chat with your phone with Google Now

HERMOSA BEACH, Calif. — OK Google, when am I going to San Francisco? Where am I staying? Can you show me directions to get there? And where are some good Italian restaurants in the neighborhood? Many know that such questions can be posed to Google’s computerized eyewear, Glass, but did you know you can have the same conversations and get on-the-money answers from Google simply by conversing with your smartphone? The under-the-radar feature is called Google Now. And while it’s available once you download the free Google Search app for Android and Apple, it does work best with Android phones. More on that in a minute. (And a quick semantics note — the “Google Search” app got a new name on Android phones Tuesday, now it’s just called “Google,” while the name remains the same, for now, in the Apple App Store.)

Who knew?