How to master... Google Now

All the info you need to turn your phone into the world’s best digital butler

Unless you work for MI6, your smartphone is probably the most advanced piece of tech you own. From snapping selfies in tiki bars to navigating your way through the back alleys of Venice, there's almost nothing it can't handle.

If you're rocking an Android handset then you're probably familiar with Google Now, the tech giant's digital voice assistant which is there to fulfil your every request 24/7, but chances are, you're not using it to its full potential.

Google's been a bit rubbish when it comes to actually showing off what Now can do, which is a shame, because it's rather brilliant, and very powerful. 

We've rounded up some of the most useful features below, starting off with a few easier commands before graduating to the super-search big leagues. Enjoy:

The Basics - 1. Master your day

Let’s kick off with the basics. You drag yourself out of bed in the morning, bleary eyed and hating the world, without the foggiest idea of what life is meant to be throwing at you today.

Before you kick your brain into gear with a shower/coffee combo, just fire up Google Now and you should have a list of your agenda for the day, pulled in from your Google Calendar entries.

If you fancy seeing what you’ve got over the next few days then simply tap on the bottom to expand the cards.

2. Worthy weatherman

You might know what you’re doing with your day, but you sure as hell won’t know what to wear for it, thanks to the erratic British weather.

Thankfully Google Now automatically shows you the day’s forecast the instant you fire it up in the mornings, letting you plan ahead with your brolly and/or sunglasses as required.

You can also tap the weather card for a more detailed forecast, which lets you scroll through the hours of the day to see if there are any nasty wet surprises in store.

3. Wake me up inside

You won't get as far as checking your schedule or planning for the weather if you never wake up in the first place.

Setting a recurring alarm on your phone is one way to make sure you get up on time, but if you’re often having to rise at different times, you can use Google Now to help kick you out of bed.

“Set an alarm for 6am” will, you guessed it, create an alarm for the next morning. You can also set a timer instead, which can come in particularly handy when cooking, or ensuring that you wake up from a well deserved nap.

4. Chat away

Google Now also comes in handy for composing and sending messages without faffing around with an onscreen keyboard.

Saying “Send an email to John” will bring up a list of all the John’s you have an email address for. Select the one you’re after, and you can type out an email instantly without having to fire up the Gmail app.

You can also use Google Now to call a contact (it is a phone after all), or send a text message.

5.Open Sesame

If you’ve got countless apps installed then you can use Google Now to save you from scrolling through pages and pages of confusing icons. “Open Instagram” will get get the job done in an instant ( as will "Go go gadget Instagram"), but the functionality extends to web pages as well.

You can also tell Google Now to play a particular song or album in your library, or start a run. Once you’ve embraced voice commands, you’ll wonder why you ever bothered with your fingers again.