Update – Google Now Launched is officially dead. You can learn more about it on Wikipedia.
There has been quite some confusion around what Google Now is. People think the best description is that it’s Google’s version of Siri, but it’s more.
Of course, you can ask Google Now questions such as setting up meetings or asking what the weather will be like this weekend, but the real difference is that Google Now tries to forecast your desires and needs before they arise.
How does this work? Well, Google Now is a mobile app for Android OS that learns about you and your habits, and by analyzing all the data it tries to send you information that is personalized to you. Its goal is to “just the right information at just the right time.”
It can be news, weather or even traffic conditions all served in real-time based on your previous movements. You receive this information in the form of a card that you can choose to tap on or move away to ignore. If it works, it’ll bring up relevant information in a timely manner.
For instance, Google Now could tell you traffic conditions as you get dressed to go to work in the morning or when the next bus passes so you know if you need to hurry up this morning.
It could also tell you if your favourite sports team won their last game the next morning if its something you check. It’s all based on data and analytics run by their software.
How many cards does it offer?
For now, the Google Now cards are pretty predictable but not impressive. We hope that with time, the features will become more and more impressive.
- Boarding Pass: Google Now allows you to use your boarding passes inside your phone.
- Activity Summary: you can track how many km you’ve walked or cycled in the past week.
- Next Appointment: Google Now can tell you when you’ll need to leave according to current traffic patterns to get there on time.
- Weather: Google Now gives you real-time weather information of where you are or where you are travelling to.
- Traffic: Google Now can give you real-time traffic conditions or alternative routes to get to work for instance.
- Flights: it can tell you if your flight is late or early so you don’t miss it.
- Hotels: you can check out hotels nearby when travelling in case you didn’t book them early.
- Restaurant Reservations: Google Now can tell you when you need to leave to arrive to your restaurant reservation or when to make one.
- Events: you can get reminders of when to leave for the event you booked.
- Packages: you can also track the packages you’ve ordered.
- Friends’ Birthday: this is a cool feature. Google Now reminds you of anyone’s birthday so you have the time to send them wishes!
- Your Birthday: you can tell Google Now about your birthday so it gives you a genuine birthday wish when the day comes.
- Sports: Google Now allows you to stay up-to-date with your favourite team’s result or their rank.
- Movies: you can check when & where the movie you want to see. You can also ask to be notified when a movie starts to play in theatres.
- Concerts: you can discover new bands playing in your area.
- Stocks: Google Now offers you a chance to track certain stocks and get notifications when they reach certain prices.
- Public Alerts: you can get access to emergency information from reliable sources like National Weather Service and the U.S. Geological Survey.
- Breakings News: you can stay up-to-date with the most important news around you.
- Research Topic: Google Now suggests places or sites based on what you’ve already researched.
- Public Transit: if you use the bus or subway, you can get the schedules or itineraries quickly.
- Places: this feature allows you to find attractions or restaurants nearby with pictures, reviews and descriptions to better chose.
- Nearby Attractions: to look at attractions happening around you.
- Nearby Events: to know the events going on nearby.
- Nearby Photo Spots: if you are looking for cute travelling picture spots, Google Now can help.
- Translation: this one is useful. You can translate quickly what people say in other languages to communicate with them.
- Currency: you can get a quick glance at the exchange rates when travelling to exchange money.
- Time at Home: you can quickly know what time it is in your home when travelling to call your family at the right time and not wake them up.