Google Now is a feature we've been eagerly anticipating for what seems like forever now. In fact, we've been seeing hints at something like it since 2010. When Apple announced Siri last year, an official counterpart from Google became not only inevitable, but necessary - iOS' speech service provided direct Apple competition to Google's mobile search engine. Today, in one of the most notable announcements at I/O, the Big G made official its answer to Siri: the aforementioned Google Now.


Google Now uses actions you've performed on your phone in the past (i.e. your locations, calendar appointments, search queries, etc.) to form an idea of your general interests and habits. It then uses this idea to assist you in various ways via helpful little clips of info called "cards."

wm_IMG_0015 wm_IMG_0016

For instance, as seen in the first photo above, Now can use your location to find out what the traffic is like around you - but it doesn't stop there; using this info, your phone will estimate how long it will take you to reach your destination, and will also find alternate (sometimes shorter) routes which are accompanied by similar estimates. Moreover, if you'd prefer to use public transit, Google Now is still perfectly equipped to assist you - the service can also use your location to find buses and trains near you, in addition to showing you when the next bus / train leaves.

wm_IMG_0017 wm_IMG_0019

But Google Now can do much more than just location-based services; it's also capable of keeping track of your calendar appointments and reporting on the latest in sports, as you can see above. The latter capability is of particular interest to me, as Now reports only on your favorite sports teams. How? It remembers sports-related search queries you've made in the past, and uses these to determine which teams you follow.

Of course, there are countless more Google Now features - just have a look at these pictures from the keynote:

wm_IMG_0018 wm_IMG_0020  wm_IMG_0021

From what we can see, Now cards come up automatically throughout the day, but you can also call them up from the search box or by swiping up from the bottom of the screen; hopefully, you'll also be able to get to it by speaking. If Apple wants Siri to remain competitive, it had better take a second look at this Jelly Bean addition - NOW!

Jaroslav Stekl
Jaroslav Stekl is a tech enthusiast whose favorite gadgets almost always happen to be the latest Android devices. When he's not writing for Android Police, he's probably hiking, camping, or canoeing. He is also an aspiring coffee aficionado and an avid moviegoer.

  • Lexster

    I don't know...it sounds cool in theory, but I'm not sure I want it THAT integrated into my life. I hope it's something I'll be able to turn off.

    • marcusmaximus04

      They said during the keynote it's only there if you turn it on.

      • Lexster

        Yeah, I noticed that, but i wasn't sure if I heard correctly. Glad someone else caught it.

    • tylerbrainerd

      from what I see it's highly configurable on how you want to use it. You can likely turn off all pop ups, or from accessing your information, or only use it as the advanced search.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kam.w.siu Kam Siu

    what do we call the new android voice? Majel? i just want hear her voice again :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/kam.w.siu Kam Siu

    i wonder if it makes calendar appointments

  • TheWhiteLotus

    They didn't really specify whether you can CREATE calendar events with it, or if it will just interact with existing ones...

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/NHRZUUEPD4GNY74UXX6RLJ7VKM Tony

    Another way for the feds and other corporate predators to keep track of our every thought and move, all signed, sealed, and delivered under the veil of a pro-consumer message/offering, and ate up like a kid in a candy store by the author and probably 90% of the readers.  Tragic. 

    • ssj4Gogeta

      They clearly mentioned it's optional.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/NHRZUUEPD4GNY74UXX6RLJ7VKM Tony

        Yes, I heard that veiled attempt at shifting blame to the consumer by stating it's optional.  My point is, even if users are given a choice, 90% of them will still leave it on, because they don't understand (or even consider) the ramifications of their decision in the grand scheme of life.  It should be defaulted OFF, and when you try to turn it on, it should explain to you that you are about to ruin your own life, and if you accept that you are about to ruin your life, click OK to proceed.  And if you click OK, it should take you to another external site that offers you one last chance to sell your life to someone who might actually put it to good use before you ruin it.

        • sky stanojevic

          how is that "ruining" my life?.. i got nothing to hide.. if they wanna know that i'm taking a massive crap in the toilet then they are just proving that they are disturbed individuals .. 
          you need to take off your tin foil hat for a bit and take some deep breaths man.. it really works..
          your probably the same person that thinks they should put a sign in front of the stairs that says "watch your step or you'll fall and crack your skull open" .. paranoid to the MAX yo.. 

        • http://twitter.com/ElrandoHorse MGardner

          Enjoy your tinfoil hat.

        • ssj4Gogeta

          The services that they showed aren't possible without collecting some data. There are some people who don't like that and Google provide an option for them. But there are others like us who don't wear tinfoil hats and would like to enjoy the next step in the evolution of technology.

        • tylerbrainerd

          it's funny how much you are overreacting in paranoia.

          • John O’Connor

            meth is a terrible drug

        • http://twitter.com/MichaelPOdegard Michael P. Odegard

          I don't know what kind of "life" you think you have that will be "ruined" by simple conveniences. However, if you are correct, I think you should stop using all forms of communication completely, and disappear off the grid.  That way, when you become an "Enemy of the State", as you seem to think all other people will become, they won't find you, or your isolated and boring "life" ;)

    • ScottColbert

      I think your tin foil hat is too tight. 

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/NHRZUUEPD4GNY74UXX6RLJ7VKM Tony

         never tight enough :-)

    • Sorian

      So, you are telling me you don't use/own/have any of the following: House/Apartment, Car/Truck/Van, Credit Card/Debit Card, or a Job? Because, the Feds and Corporate Predators you are vaguely mentioning already know more about you without the help of Google or Apple.

      • tylerbrainerd

        or an email, or internet provider, or anything at all?

    • Alex Murphy

      There is no NEW information being gathered here...it's just compiling and applying that data in new and intuitive ways. 

    • David Becker

      Back to the map and compass with you!

  • Simon Belmont

    So, I guess my question is will this replace Voice Search/Actions with natural language processing for various things? I would like to be able to completely hands free compose texts via a Bluetooth headset while driving among MANY other things.

    Yes, I know Vlingo can do this, but I've been waiting for Majel (Assistant) for a while. Is this just the groundwork for Assistant or is it the real deal?

  • LazarusDark

    Actually, this sounds far better and more useful than Siri. I know several people that ran out to get an iphone with Siri. All of them used it constantly for a week, then never again. It's a gimic. You can't go around talking to your phone all the time and have it talk to you, its just not practical outside of your home while alone. You can't use it at work, at school, on public transit, without annoying the crap out of everyone around you.
    But Google Now sounds like a very useful assistant.