How would you feel if your phone could pre-empt your requirements and could provide related information to you before you even think of asking it? That sounds pretty cool, right? But, is it possible? Yes, you can experience this with Google Now
on your Android phone.
What is Google Now ?
For those who are new to Google Now, it's an Android application that is specifically designed to automatically get you useful information considering the time and place you are in. This means your phone automatically gets you weather information when you wake up every morning, traffic information when you sit in your car, train information when you are at subway etc.
From Google :
Google Now gets you just the right information at just the right time.
It tells you today’s weather before you start your day, how much traffic to expect before you leave for work, when the next train will arrive as you’re standing on the platform, or your favorite team's score while they’re playing. And the best part? All of this happens automatically. Cards appear throughout the day at the moment you need them.
As clear from the description above, all of this information is presented in form of cards. For each kind of information like weather, traffic, hotel etc there is a Google now card
that provides relevant information. As of today Google Now
supports 25 cards. The list can be found here
Here is a basic video explaining Google Now :
was first made available in Android 4.1. So, probably any device that runs Android 4.1 or any later version should have Google Now
in it. Devices like Samsung Galaxy Nexus phone and Nexus 7 tablet have Google Now. As reported by pcworld in their article, Some devices (including Verizon-sold Galaxy Nexus phones) can be "rooted" and given a modified version of Android 4.1, and Android 4.0 devices can run a patched-together version.
More capable than Apple's Siri
Google Now was initially seen as a direct competitor to Apple's Siri
but with features like pre-emptive information delivery, experts have agreed that it's less conversational and far more capable than Siri.
An excerpt from article on Techradar :
Let's say you need to navigate to another location – a lunch meeting
or other appointment, for example. When you open Now, a card for your
event will be ready to go at the top of the stack; tapping Navigate
throws you into Google Maps Navigation and routes you to the
Once there, Google Now will remember your destination
and offer to take you back home or to your next appointment, should you
have one, even telling you how long it will take to get there. As it
learns your patterns, Now becomes smarter and starts to second-guess
your next move based on where you are, the time of day and even calendar
Read the complete article here
The application gets intelligent as it collects more and more
information about your requirements, interests and schedule and starts
predicting your next move based on the time of the day and information
collected by it. So, once you see the score of your favorite sport team, it will automatically provide information about
the match details whenever your favorite team plays next. That's smart!!!
Innovation of the year
Google Now received the Innovation of the year
award from Popular Science
Here is an excerpt from the announcement :
On the side you’re on now, you tell your devices what you want to do. On the far side, the devices do the telling. Google Now is waiting for you over there. It’s the first virtual assistant that truly anticipates your needs. All you have to do is opt in.
Read complete announcement here
Google Now Time-line
Here is a time-line of updates related to Google Now
(ref : Wikipedia
- Towards the end of 2011, technology world was abuzz with the speculation that Google might come up with something similar to Siri.
- On June 27, 2012, Google Now was unveiled as part of the premiere demonstration of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean at the Google I/O.
- On October 29, 2012, Google Now received an update through the Google Play Store bringing the addition of Gmail cards.
- On December 5, 2012, an update to the Google Search application brought
several new features to Google Now update, including cards for: nearby
events; searching by camera when at a museum or shop; air-plane boarding
passes found from e-mail (United Airlines only, more airlines to come); weather at upcoming travel destinations etc.
Unlimited opportunities with Google Now cards
The fact that Google Now
uses Cards to show relevant information, this opens up opportunities to have cards providing information for any type of event. As reported in this article
One designer in Montreal by the name of Jean-Louis Nguyen has his own ideas for Google Now, and they’re absolutely gorgeous. The designer took the idea of Google Now’s Card system and really showed
what potential it has for making our lives more convenient by imagining
it a rather long 10 years in the future.
View all the Google Now Mock-ups from Jean here
Kevin Purdy, in his article
on pcworld did list some kinks of Google Now :
The built-in text messaging translation ("Text Brian Smith, How about a Cubs game next Friday?") works pretty well, unless you use Google Voice as your text messaging service. Speak a text and tap "Send message," and you'll be asked, in normal fashion, whether to use "Messaging" or "Google Voice" to send it. If you choose Google Voice, there's a very good chance it just won't go through, and you won't ever know it didn't go through. That's been my experience, at least, running a lightly modified Android 4.1 build on a Verizon Galaxy Nexus.
Like Siri, too, Google Now feels magical when it works, and completely moronic when it transcribes seemingly basic words incorrectly, or doesn't understand your context at all. That's the nature of voice recognition.
Heading to Chrome in future?
There is a lot of buzz that Google Now will soon be heading towards desktops through it's integration with chrome.
An excerpt from article on CNet :
Google confirmed that it's working on the project but stopped short of
committing to it. "We're always experimenting with new features in
Chrome, so have nothing to announce at this time," spokeswoman Jessica
But this is confirmed as a skeleton for Google Now has already been added in the chromium project source.
Here is a log from this project :
Creating a skeleton for Google Now for Chrome implementation. The CL creates the top-level structure for showing Google Now cards in Chrome via Chrome Notifications. The implementation lives behind -enable-google-now-integration flag.
Note1 : The credits for the video goes to the author. The Intention is to just share the information through this video.
Note2 : All the views expressed in this article are the personal views of the author and do not represent the views of IBM.