Google to Kill Off Google Voice for BlackBerry
Google today announced a second round of spring cleaning that will see yet more services discontinued. The most significant mobile app being axed is the Google Voice application for the BlackBerry platform. Google recommends that BlackBerry owners still interested in using Google Voice switch to the browser-based HTML5 app, which Google says is more secure anyway. Google will end support for Google Voice for BlackBerry next week. The HTML5 app is compatible with BlackBerry Browsers version 6 and up. Other products that have limited days remaining include the CalDAV API, Google Building Maker (tool to model 3D buildings on maps), Google Cloud Connect (plug-in that helped users save Microsoft Office documents to Google Docs), Google Reader (RSS feed), the Search API for Google Shopping, and Snapseed for both Windows and Mac OS. Google says better alternatives for all these services are available elsewhere.
Cortana for Android Now Works On the Lock Screen
Microsoft today made it possible for Android device owners to access and use Cortana above the lock screen on their smartphones. Microsoft has been testing the feature since earlier this year and is now rolling it out to all users.
Google Threads Voice Commands Deeper Into Google Maps
People can now use their voice to take full command of Google Maps when in the car. Google updated Maps today and added more support for "Ok, Google"-based voice commands.
Google Home Gains Voice-Based Shopping to Compete with Amazon Echo
Google today added the ability to shop for certain goods to its voice-controlled Google Home speaker. Google says people can use Google Home to purchase everyday essentials from more than 50 national and local retailers.
Google's Voice Assistant Now Works with Some Chat Apps
Google today extended the voice capabilities of its Google Search app by allowing it to interact with third-party messaging apps. People can now issue commands such as "Ok Google, send a WhatsApp message" to initiate and dictate messages in a handful of popular messaging apps.