Google Now

Android version is more fluid, and is still the best Google Now experience

There's a little excitement this morning in the iOS camp as the Google Search app has been updated, brining Google Now cards to the fray. You get the same information you get on Android, with the same card design -- but  it's a vastly different experience. 

On Android, you simply open Google Now, and everything's there. Sports scores. Weather. Directions. Birthdays. Whatever. It takes a couple more steps on iOS. They're well-animated steps, but it takes the "Wow!" factor out of the entire operation. You're going to get the information instead of it being right there, almost before you knew you needed it.

So, yeah. Google Now's now on iOS. But it's defnitely still better on Android.

Source: Google

 

Reader comments

Google Now hits iOS, still better on Android, though

64 Comments

Does it interact with the OS like it does on Android. I guess what I am asking is I can tell Google Now to make an alarm for 1:30 and it does it through my stock alarm app, Can it do that on iOS?

I just tried it and no you can't.

I do like how in the app you have the links to voice search, apps and googles, and you just pull the card up and you get Now

Google Now is seriously so much better in the US than it is anywhere else..

I have some parcels in the post, and am catching an international flight next week and Google Now is totally oblivious to them.

Sucks outside the US unfortunately.

A product being better/more comprehensive in the country where the company is based and was founded... Imagine that...

It works fine here in Mexico, and does exactly what you mentioned. Though for mail it tracks Fedex, UPS etc. I see recommendations for driving to work, temperature and quite a lot of (sometimes disturbing) information.

While our friend/enemy SIRI is slower on web searches, it is incomparable for phone centric activities, like alarms, reminders, appointments, calls, sending messages etc. Google Now is pretty amazing when it comes to info you have in your email, and web searches. So while not an ideal situation, if you place the Google Now icon on your dock, you can simply create a workflow where you use both.

yeah, I seriously don't understand what made Google do this.
Its got no advantage in terms of gaining market. And why isnt it at least out on 2.3+ before iOS. Or chrome for that matter.

I love you Google, but sometimes you just wrinkle my brain.

"what made Google do this"

Money. The same reason Google loves it when you use Google search on your Apple device. Google is a web giant. They want your information. They want to know what you do and how you do it. They WILL then sell all of that information, de-identified of course, to make their actual profits. Google Now was never about helping you or making your life better; that's just a pleasant side-effect and a great way to mask what they actually do with it.

Goodle does NOT sell your information. They keep all information in-house, what they sell is advertising space. Google collects information so that they can target advertisers to your particular interests and needs. But they do not sell that information to third parties.

Thank you! This false claim of "selling information" needs to be corrected more often. It's sending huge waves of "techno-panic" all through the industry, and only creates headaches for everyone working in it.

Heaven forbid they make money providing products for people free of charge (usually) in return for being able to target ads at said persons.

There's plenty of paid apps that can do (most of) what Google apps/service provide. People can use those instead. Google isn't twisting anyone's arms.

Yes, Google is usually the best in some category. They got that way by making money and investing in being the best.

People are so odd... Companies can be successful, but don't be TOO successful!

The sooner Android evangelists realize that Google is out for user data and user data alone....the better they will be.

Why did Google do this? Because iOS users come in bucket loads and a pretty large chunk of them use Google services. This is just another expansive honey pot of user data for Google.

Damn right it does. Tired of being passed over for features on my dual core phone with a GB of ram, just because manufacturer/carrier hasn't updated to JB.

If you care that much, either get a Nexus phone, or root (or do both). You can't seriously expect to have the latest Android OS on a Samsung, HTC, et. al. phone given their long track record of botched/delayed updates, let alone the average normal time it takes them to push out an update (usually at least 4 months after initial release)...

My Nexus One doesn't qualify :(

I'll have to try this out on my iPad 1 to see if it's not too slow, as well as my father's iPhone 3GS.

"My Nexus One doesn't qualify" ... because you're talking about a 3 year old phone whose specs are worse than even most of the "free" phones offered by carriers right now, and which Google stopped updating at Gingerbread...

And this phone would be... what? The iPhone 3G/3GS? Considering it has the latest version of iOS, or close to it, while (as I mentioned before) the Nexus One doesn't even have ICS from Google, keep dreaming.

So buying a Nexus only solves the update "problem" if you buy the newest Nexus every year? Or at least every 14-18 months? That pretty much eliminates the advantage of the Nexus program unless you are only buying them for the vanilla Android experience.

See my comment above where I said, "either get a Nexus phone, or root (or do both)", and emphasize the "or do both" part. Yes, Google left the Nexus One with Gingerbread. But that doesn't mean all development stopped. I'm quite certain ICS at least was ported to the N1, and maybe even JB.
Besides, the best most phones these days get are 2 years of upgrades (at which point most people upgrade to a new phone anyway). There's not much in it for carriers/manufacturers (even Google) to continue to attempt to backport the latest OS to such limited hardware (like the N1). Who knows, maybe with much greater hardware (like what's in the Galaxy Nexus or Nexus 4) in combination with the plateauing of the hardware "arms race", phones will get more updates, over a longer period of time.

Basically. It also leaves Android open to trolling Business Insider headlines such as: "Most Android Phones Still Can't Access Google Now, But The iPhone Can" as about 85% of iOS devices are on at least v5.

I've historically used desktop computers for 4-8 years and dumb phones 4-5 years. The N1 was in service for a mere 2 1/2 years, it's now SIM-less but still gets some use a couple of times per week.

"My Nexus One doesn't qualify :(
I'll have to try this out on my iPad 1 to see if it's not too slow, as well as my father's iPhone 3GS.”

How do you even use an iPad 1 for anything? It has 256 megabytes of RAM, a single CPU core, and it stutters/drops frames all over the place.

I kid,I kid.

No, but seriously..To get the full effect, you may wanna try it on a better device. ;-)

The kids are fine with the iPad 1, I just keep the games updated and try to spend as little time on it as possible. The lack of memory is indeed a serious pain.

If Google wanted to go to all the trouble of putting all features into all past versions of the OS, that would make new versions of the OS pointless. There's more to the level of integration on Android devices then there is making a port for iOS. Countless others have provided the answer: Get a new device. Just because your "old" device is technically capable, doesn't mean it's Google's responsibility to build in support for you after your initial investment in the phone X years ago.

I can't speak for others, but since I'm at the mercy of my carrier in regards to OS upgrades: It stings a little. Never mind that Google enforces an upgrade policy on available services, but now those outside of the Android community can use what I can not.

I understand this is all about search and revenue. But if you can port a version to the iOS, then you can make it possible to use the same said feature on some versions of the Android OS. I'm using Ice Cream Sandwich and have no desire to flash a new ROM and exploit code that was 'made' to function on my phone.

My device can run Google Now. So Google itself is missing out on their precious revenue in regards to my data and usage. And I have been forced to use an very serviceable application called Sher.pa. But in the end, it's still not the same.

So, support an old outdated OS that's in the minority of user base, or support an OS that's got a larger demographic? And you'd chose to support the out of date OS that nobody uses? Make that make sense to me. And don't start on the "but my manufacturer/carrier hasn't updated my device out of ICS yet..." - this isn't Google's doing...blame (and go bitch at...furiously) the former two parties.

Do you not realize that less than 25% of all Android devices are on 4.1 or higher? The number of users on 4.0 and lower versions far outnumber the number of iOS users. They're excluding the vast majority of Android users and you think that makes sense? Okay, buddy. I guess math and statistics aren't your strong subjects.

Your sarcasm just makes you look stupid. You can't just compare users to users. It's not 'more than 75 percent' just on the previous version. There are many other versions, and each phone on each carrier might even be at a different revision. You seriously can't expect that Google isn't better at statistics than you are. They built this for iOS once, and now it will work on most iOS devices already. The level of integration with the Android OS is the reason you can't have it on 4.0, or 2.3 (shudder). It's literally built into the OS. You might get a hack or workaround to get it to work on earlier devices, but Google is not going to go to all the trouble to test it like it needs to be for them to make it an official solution. Additionally, Google Now is primarily designed for US users, and that means that all of your chinese clone gingerbread devices don't really factor into the important numbers here.

You're smoking some good stuff if you think the number of Android users on ICS in any way compare to the number of IOS users...on 5 or 6. But hey, since "math and statistics" (as well as reading comprehension) are obviously your "strong subjects" - let's see you make it make sense on paper...supporting ICS over IOS?

ICS isn't in the minority though, it is the majority. The app works on it (barring voice search) without any tweaking, it's something Google should sort out.

Just to pre-empt the next comment, I have a Nexus 4 so have no vested interest in GNow coming to ICS. It's just something that should have happened already.

ICS isn't on a majority of devices...at all...according to any device chart...anywhere. IOS supercedes it in importance by a factor of about 200:1

You thin the majority of Android devices are on ICS? Please qualify that statement so I can just wipe my ass with this conversation, if you think that's the case...you don't even understand the vocabulary in which you're trying to communicate about.

The smoothness seems about equal on my iPhone 5 and Nexus 4. No extra steps...my cards are already there on iOS too.

I can sort of see where the ICS/GB crowd is coming from being frustrated that Google Now isn't on their devices. If it can be a standalone app for iOS, why can't it be for pre-JB? Obviously you wouldn't get the deep level integration of JB Now, but it'd be a nice start.

If Google did that, Samsung/HTC/Sony won't be bothered to update the OS anymore. Google wants to bring everybody up to the latest OS for quality and functional purposes. If these big companies realise that the updates Google brings to the newer OS' are what the majority of their customers want, there would be more incentive to update their OS. The Samsung Galaxy SIII has been the greatest phone to go neck and neck with the iPhone but it's still on an outdated 4.1.2 JB. I know it sucks on a pre-JB standpoint but it's what Google needs to do to get rid of their fragmented image in the past.

Google now is a neat novelty but it wore off quick for me. Mostly I thought it was neat how it tracked an amazon package for me but it didn't work for anything other than Amazon. I am not a sports fan and I don't travel much so it really is a novelty service that isn't very useful to me. In other words, a battery waster. I can see where a traveler who buys stuff from only Amazon would find it useful though.

Now does a lot ore than track packages and give sports scores. If you had ever really used it, you would realize that.
Among other things, it...
Tracks appointments in your calendar (and tells you when you should leave based on local traffic)
Provides weather updates
When you're at work, it tells you your eta to home based on traffic.
In the mornings it automatically gives the same information for getting to work, so if traffic is bad, you'll know ahead of time.
Gives information on local events and places of interest.
Tracks flight information and automatically notifies you if it changes (I got a notification that my sister-in-law's flight was 45 minutes ahead of schedule allowing us to get to the airport in time to pick her up so she didn't wait around).
it will update you with breaking news related to what you've done searches on (such as the Marathon bombings two weeks ago).
If you use public transit, it will tell you the departure times and routes for stops nearby.

Now is not the be-all end-all. But it's certainly not a waste of battery either.

ICS and older users have two options for Google Now.
Flash a ROM
Get a new device
Google Now is one incentive to drive folks to get newer devices with the newer OS. While Google is not in the hardware business (generally), their strategic partners (Samsung, HTC, etc.) are. Porting it to iOS does two things. First, it allows Google to collect more information for their advertising business (their real business). Second, it gives iOS users a taste of Google Now, something that might lead to some of those users wanting more and jumping platforms.

If they have Google Now on their iPhones then they won't have much reason to jump to Android. That should be a selling factor for iUsers to want to jump over. It's a double edged sword. We can't just "get a new device" if we are still under contract and not everyone wants to root. Yes, the carriers are to blame tho and that's a shame. Alot more phones should've been updated to JB by now.

I would say when they added Google Maps, that was more important and keeping people to iOS more so than Now.

I agree with you, except I don't think Google cares about people jumping platforms. They care about people using their services on either platform.

And this is just the latest example of why iOS users should be happy that Android has become a major platform. Google doesn't need to hold out its best features to entice people to Android like it did with Navigation for many years, because Android is here to stay. They can just go about offering its best to all the relevant platforms. Which is also a win for those of us who use a lot of Google services. Now I can choose my platform based on other factors (hardware, OS, apps), and not worry about not getting the best of Google.
I only wish Apple would see the light, and offer some its compelling services (iMessage, photostream, Facetime) to Android users.

This mostly true. The experience for Google Services is still better on Android (and that's ok), so depending how much it matters, Android is still the better platform depending on the user.

@Phil Nickinson

Thanks for the exciting post.

google now is a terrific invention by google. this software is core related with google search engine. we all know google is the best and fastest search engine in internet, because they google the maximum data about searching everything.

Thanks in advance

Why give the Apple crowd a hobbled version? Now they will just use it in one of the inevitable fights. It'd be better advertising for Google to give them a smooth full experience. Teasing them won't work.

Wow....
Now we have EVERYTHING that makes iOS so damn sweet AND the best of Google all running on the baddest platform on the planet.. I am so glad I got my Mini to compliment my Galaxy Note.. :-)

Meh, I wouldn't say the best of Google. I would say what's adequate about Google Services along with everything that makes iOS so good to some people. Google Now is actually kind of pointless for me on iOS without the notifications. Having to launch the app to get relevant information equates to me never having the relevant information.

Just you watch. The iSheep are going to rage over how Siri is better in every way, not realizing that Google was generous enough to offer Google Now to a platform it was not intended for. (Of course, one must account that iOS users in general are pretty gullible, if you don't mind my slightly stereotypical opinion.)

Google now on ios allows you to change mode of transport fit different journeys eg public transport for commute and driving for other journeys... This feature still isn't on android!