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Smarter hotel and restaurant searches coming to Android

With Cortana arriving on Windows Phone 8.1, the battle of the digital assistants — Cortana, Siri and Google Now — is well and truly underway. Google has just announced that its voice search tool on Android is getting a little bit smarter with more comprehensive filters in searches for nearby hotels and restaurants: You can sort your results based on price ranges, customer ratings and even opening hours.

“It’s hard to make last-minute hotel and restaurant reservations in your price range, in the right neighborhood and with the right flair,” says Google in a post on Google+. The example given by the developers is “restaurants in downtown Austin” — there are filters available for you to swipe between, based on price, rating and cuisine. An additional button enables you to focus in on venues that are currently open.

As with many new features rolled out by Google in its search tool, the new functionality only works in the U.S. for the time being. If you’re looking for somewhere to eat or a place to rest your head while you’re out and about then it should make the process easier — all of this information is already available in Google Maps on the Web but it can be difficult to access on a smaller screen.

You can expect to see more tweaks and improvements along these lines as Google, Apple and Microsoft look to create the most user-friendly and detailed interface for getting information on the go. In March, for example, Google introduced the ability to view restaurant menus from within your search results. With so much data available, it’s up to the competing virtual assistants to find the best way of presenting it to users on a mobile interface.

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