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.
Google Now cards
Google Now helps you manage your day, stay connected and be a local anywhere. Google Now has over 25 different cards, with more to come.
Google Now is an intelligent personal assistant available for Google’s Android operating system. An extension of Android’s native Google Search application, Google Now uses a natural language user interface to answer questions, make recommendations, and perform actions by delegating requests to a set of web services. Along with answering user-initiated queries, Google Now passively delivers information to the user that it predicts they will want, based on their search habits. It was first included in Android 4.1 (“Jelly Bean”) and was first supported on the Galaxy Nexus. Popular Science named Google Now the “Innovation of the Year” for 2012.
In late 2011, reports surfaced that Google was developing a virtual assistant for the next version of Android, similar to Apple’s Siri. It was originally codenamed “Majel” after Majel Barrett, the wife of Gene Roddenberry, and well known as the voice of computer systems in his Star Trek franchise; it was also codenamed “assistant”.
On June 27, 2012, Google Now was unveiled as part of the premier 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. Google Now displays cards with information pulled from the user’s Gmail account, such as flight information, package tracking information, hotel reservations and restaurant reservations. Other additions were movies, concerts, stocks and news cards based on the users location and search history. Also included is creating calendar events using voice input.
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; airplane boarding passes found from e-mail (United Airlines only, more airlines to come); weather at upcoming travel destinations; birthday reminders; and monthly summaries of biking and walking activities. New voice action features included with this update include the ability to post to Google+, song recognition capabilities, and the ability to scan bar codes.
Google Now is implemented as an aspect of the Google Search application. It recognizes repeated actions that a user performs on the device (common locations, repeated calendar appointments, search queries, etc.) to display more relevant information to the user in the form of “cards”. The system leverages Google’s Knowledge Graph project, a system used to assemble more detailed search results by analyzing their meaning and connections.
Specialized cards currently comprise:
Activity Summary (Walking and Biking)
Gmail: Package Tracking
Photo Spot Nearby
Travel: Attractions Nearby
Travel: Time Back Home
Scott Webster of CNET praised Google Now for its ability to remind users of events based on past location histories and check-ins and further commended it for providing “information instantly in a clean, intuitive manner” without having the user to request for it. Critically, a review by Ryan Paul of Ars Technica claims that like most other voice activated apps, including Siri, voice recognition is a major issue. However, Paul noted that the ability to type queries provides users with more options.
Some commentators have noted that the predictive power of Google Now reveals “exactly how much data and information Google actually has about [users'] routines and daily lives.”