New ‘Fantastic Beasts’ Google Now commands let you cast spells over your Android phone

google now fantastic beasts googlenow head
Google and Warner Bros. are imbuing mobiles with a little magic. In anticipation of the movie studio’s upcoming Harry Potter spinoff, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Google has integrated “spells” into its eponymous Google Now assistant on smartphones running its Android mobile operating system.

The search giant has made channeling your inner wizard exceedingly easy. Say “OK Google” followed by the “spell” of your choice: Uttering “Lumos” turns on your smartphones flashlight, while shouting “Silencio” switches off your handset’s ringer and notifications. “Now anyone can try their hand at magic,” Google said in a blog post.

That’s not the only bit of the wizarding world that’s invading the Muggle world’s mobile realm. Google Street View, Google’s service that delivers panoramic views from the curbside of the world’s major thoroughfares, now provides a glimpse into fictional 1926 New York City — including storied sights like the Magical Congress of the USA (MACUSA), Steen National Bank, the underground speakeasy The Blind Pig, and “magical” apartments. Google’s new mobile messaging platform, Allo, will soon gain a new Fantastic Beasts-inspired sticker pack. And YouTube creators at Google’s newly opened YouTube Space in London have begun releasing “content inspired by the wizarding world.”

The new Google Now commands and Allo stickers will launch in the coming days on supported smartphones and tablets, and the Street View’s locations are live on Android and iOS devices, as well as the web.

The integrations are a part of Warner Brother’s broader Fantastic Beasts digital push. Earlier this year, Google built a virtual reality experience for Daydream View, its VR platform for mobile phones, that transported headset wearers to a magical room full of challenging puzzles, frightening creatures, and all manner of wizarding artifacts. In Google Maps, the firm launched Magical Maps, a navigable collection of “magical” New York City locations replete with music, animations, and Easter eggs. And within its search function, Google rolled out contextual Fantastic Beasts promotions: If you search for showtimes in Google, you’ll be shown exclusive content from the upcoming film.

Google is not the only one spreading the word. Amazon has partnered with Warner Bros. to integrate “casting” into the internet retail giant’s search bar: Type one of five “spells” and you’ll see a magical effect cover the screen before it navigates to a Fantastical Beasts promotional page. Twitter, meanwhile, has rolled out 12 limited-edition emojis and video clips that can be unlocked by typing in hashtags based on the film’s characters. And Facebook has launched a movie-themed Facebook Live profile frame.

“When we had Harry Potter, none of this technology existed,” Blair Rich, president of worldwide marketing for Warner Bros., told Fast Company. “So to be able to creatively interpret this world through technology and allow people this very unusual kind of interaction with it, is really a marketing plus.”

The film hits theaters November 18.

Gaming

Google’s Stadia is the future of gaming, and that’s bad news for our planet

Google’s upcoming Stadia cloud gaming service, and its competitors, are ready to change the way gamers play, but in doing so they may kick off a new wave of data center growth – with unfortunate consequences for the environment.
Smart Home

Google has tips for making your smart home more eco-friendly

Google is announcing new integrations for Google Assistant with energy and water-saving devices for Earth Day. The company is also offering tips on how to cut down on your energy bill.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix right now (April 2019)

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Mobile

The Pixel 3 range will soon be coming to T-Mobile's network

Google's latest flagships, the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, are now official and we have all the details from the October 9 event in New York City and Paris. Here's everything we know about the Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL.
Mobile

These are the key settings to change on the LG G8 ThinQ smartphone

The LG G8 ThinQ is finally available. There are a lot of settings turned off by default that may be useful in improving the experience of using the phone. We've rounded up 11 key settings for you to change on the G8.
Mobile

LG reportedly files patent for triple selfie camera on smartphone

LG has reportedly filed a patent for a smartphone with three front-facing cameras. However, if the patent turns out to be true, it may come down as just another gimmick for the struggling mobile phone manufacturer.
Mobile

Weird Galaxy View 2 is a TV-style tablet to take your mind off the Galaxy Fold

Samsung may be about to resurrect a product line that last saw an entry three years ago. Renders of the Galaxy View 2 show it's sticking to the tablet-that-thinks-it's-a-TV formula.
Computing

Tired of choosing between Windows and Mac? Check out these Chromebooks instead

We've compiled a list of the best Chromebooks -- laptops that combine great battery life, comfortable keyboards, and the performance it takes to run Google's lightweight Chrome OS. From Samsung to Acer, these are the Chromebooks that really…
Mobile

The OnePlus 7 Pro will have four launch events to celebrate its release

The OnePlus 6T may still be new, but we're already looking ahead to the upcoming OnePlus 7. It will use the Snapdragon 855, and may have a new pop-up front camera, too. Here's everything we know about the OnePlus 7.
Smart Home

The Houzz app now lets you virtually tile your floor with augmented reality

Augmented reality is starting to be a real bonus to apps like Houzz's View in My Room 3D tool, which recently added the ability to measure how a tiled floor might look in your living space.
Mobile

Samsung begins retrieving all the Galaxy Fold review units

The Samsung Galaxy Fold has arrived, and it goes on sale soon. Folding out from a 4.6-inch display to a tablet-sized 7.3-inch display, this unique device has six cameras, two batteries, and special software to help you use multiple apps.
Mobile

Common Samsung Galaxy S10, S10 Plus, and S10e problems and how to fix them

Samsung's new Galaxy S10 range is gorgeous and extremely powerful. But they're not perfect, and you may discover some issues with your new phone. Here are some of the most common Galaxy S10 problems and how to fix them.
Mobile

Michael Kors updates its Sofie smartwatch, but still uses a processor from 2016

Michael Kors announced an update to the Sofie smartwatch, now offering heart rate monitoring, GPS, and NFC support. There's only one problem — the device still offers the Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor.
Product Review

Screen snags aside, the Galaxy Fold is an exciting step toward a foldable future

Samsung's Galaxy Fold is the company's first foldable phone, with two screens, six cameras, and a dual-cell battery. The phone may be delayed due to display issues, but that doesn't stop us from asking -- what's it like to use?