Google Now, a personal assistant service that first debuted for Android devices last year, has arrived for the iPhone and iPad through an update to the Google Search app.
Google Now provides users with relevant information based on individual search history, Gmail account contents, and current location. This information, including local weather and traffic details, upcoming appointments, events, and birthdays, flight statuses, and more, is shown to users unprompted in the form of virtual cards in the main view in Google Search.
Here’s a promotional video showing how Google Now works within the Google Search app:
Google Search is free to download and requires iOS 5.0 or later on an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad. To use Google Now, you’ll need to log in with your Google account since that’s how Google accesses your information to populate what Google Now shows you.
I like what Google Now can do but it’s not as robust as it could be (more thanks to Apple and its limitations on what apps are allowed to do than any failure on Google’s part). And it’s a little bit creepy as well.
Google Now lacks any sort of push notification option so you have to open the app to see what Google Now has to tell you. Google Search isn’t an app I use regularly so opening it just to see this information isn’t particularly appealing to me. Also, though I’ve had a Gmail account for years now and I know that part of the terms of service I agreed to when opening it states that Google will essentially read through my emails, it feels a little creepy that Google will “snoop” through my email, contacts, and calendar, and parse through my Google searches to bring me all of this information.
This aside, Google Now could be incredibly useful to those who make full use of Google’s suite of services. Now if only Apple would let Google and other developers integrate apps more closely with iOS so getting this kind of information is seamless and more fluid…