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You can now use Google Now to dictate messages to friends

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Google Now is about to get even handier. The voice-powered personal assistant was recently updated by Google to include a new dictation feature that works within a variety of popular messaging apps. If you’re typing out texts by the dozen, Google Now will save your thumbs some stress. Android owners can now use the “Ok Google” command to start up a message in third party apps including WhatsApp, Viber, WeChat, Telegram and NextPlus.

The basic command begins with “Ok Google, send a WhatsApp message to Joe,” modified however you see fit depending on your app and friend of choice (unless you want to send a WhatsApp message to Joe, then don’t change a thing). Google Now will then prompt you to speak your message so the service can transcribe it for you. If you’d rather, you can just blurt out the message with the original command instead of waiting for Google Now to ask for additional input.

The new service is available only in English for the time being, but can be used anywhere. Additional support for languages and other apps are said to be on their way in the coming months. Dictation is just the latest in an ongoing spree of updates the search giant has been pushing to its virtual assistant service. In past months, Google has added predictive information and smarter content tailored to a user’s habits. More Now cards for a wide variety of apps have also been added.

Improving the voice commands has been high on Google’s agenda as well, even before the dictation. Google Now users have also been given the ability to interact with a variety of third party apps through voice commands, including services like Shazam and Zillow. The result is a product that is quickly surpassing its competition in Siri and Cortana to be the top of the class of virtual assistants.

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