Google Now

As Google Now gains more functionality, we see more and more what a Big Deal™ it will become

This is not a guess. It's not even a prediction. Google Now is going to change the way you use your smart phone, and maybe even the face of mobile itself. What started as a neat way to see baseball scores has graduated into its own platform and service, fully extensible, and downright wonderful.

Hearing and seeing what Google Now can do is one thing. It looks and sounds really cool, but when you use some of the more advanced features for the first time in a real-life situation, you'll have an epiphany. I know this, because it just happened to me. The experience moved me, and made me realize that Google Now is the killer feature everyone has always looked for.

Google Now reminder

This hit me Friday evening. My wife told me we were out of aspirin, and to remind her the next time we go to the grocery store. Normally, that would go in one ear and right out the other, but I remembered that with Google Now all I had to do was ask my phone to remind me when I'm at the grocery store. Try it yourself. Open Google Now, tap the microphone icon (or say Google if you have it set to activate by voice) and say

The next time I'm at <insert the name of your local grocery store>, remind me to buy aspirin

One tap later, your phone is all set to beep at you and tell you to get a bottle of aspirin the next time you roll into the grocery store parking lot. This is a big deal folks. This is far beyond seeing the score of the ballgame, or tracking something you ordered from Amazon. This is helpful. And this isn't even in the same league as the app knowing where home and work are, and reminding you to do something when you get there. Google Now listened to what I said, determined that Food Lion was a place, and found the location of several. Then it set up the reminder, presented me with the closest Food Lion location, and one tap later I won't be forgetting my aspirin. Seeing and hearing it announced at Google I/O is nothing like seeing it in action, either. It's impressive, and it makes my life easier.

We imagine Google isn't done with Google Now yet. Being able to leverage all of Google's search data, as well as your personal data when you opt-in to Google's services, means Google has the ability to display all manner of useful information about where you are, what you do, and what you need. As the back-end for this sort of thing gets better, and the bright engineers dream up new ideas, we expect to see them trickle in.

Five years from now, our lives are going to look very, very different. I'm certain that Google Now will have developed into one of the forces that makes those differences.

 

Reader comments

Google Now will change the way we use our smartphones

212 Comments

We had those up until a year or two ago, of course I have not shopped there since 2000. Terrible meat, deli, bakery, customer service, cleanliness, and overall crap store.

Your story (which I found useful and informative btw) was hijacked by Food Lion..

This is something I'm looking forward to using with geofencing. It's great to know that it can recognize a lot of locations instead of just "words."

Nice little write-up, Jerry. I agree we're at the forefront of something amazing.

I wish more people would realize how functional Google Now is. I know so many people who don't even bother to use it and I try my hardest to convince them how wonderful it really is. They'll learn eventually.

I'd use it more.... if my phone supported it. Sadly, even though IOS gets it, 40% of Android phones DON'T... why they chose not to release it as an addon to Gingerbread is beyond me. Why LG crapped on G2X buyers as well is beyond me. Put the two together, and similar situations, and you have a LOT of Google fans who can't use Google Now at all.

Props to you for being able to stick it out with that sorry excuse for a smartphone. I hated that phone almost from the first day I owned it. LG really screwed the pooch on the hardware and software side on that device and I almost didn't get the Nexus 4 because of it. They have since stepped up their game but I know that does you no good as you still own the G2X. Good luck to you sir and upgrade soon.

Its always easier for someone with a newer phone to say "buy a new phone" but unless ur gonna pay for it shut ur bitch ass up. Not everyone can get a new phone every 6 months to a year just because carriers/manufacturers don't wanna update the one u have. That can get very expensive. Someone always gotta say some dumb shit.

And we understand that not everyone can afford to get a new phone so often. but that's where you need to stop complaining about not having the newest things on your non newest phone. you dont buy a 2010 car then complain that the 2012 model has awesome new features so why do it with a phone? its just what you have to deal with until you can afford to get the newest.

Umm, I think the complaint is legit here because Google is releasing the app for its competition, while not supporting it in older versions of its own OS. I'd be hard-pressed to think of any reason why it couldn't at least run on ICS, and that was released in late 2011. Simply pathetic.

Google has made it very clear that they are not in competition. they are only interested in making your web experience top. you think that would be apparent after all this time. you assume Google now isn't available on ICS cuz they just dont want to? maybe you should be blaming lg for having an outdated os and no plans to upgrade it. im sure its not available because a limitation. jelly bean introduced project butter with jelly bean. for all you know it is required for Google now to run. im not a developer so i couldn't tell you for sure.

Uhhhhhhh, Google's NOT in a competition? They may not show it and advertise it like Microsoft and Amazon, but basically everybody in the mobile industry is competing with Apple, it's just some don't showcase it in their ads to try to make them selves look better. Just look at Google Now for example. A voice services where you ask it stuff and they answer and you can use it for reminders. Hmmmmm, remind you of anything? "Cough-Siri-Cough". And only Kindle Fire owners know this but they're basically in a huge rivalry with Amazon, the 2nd most known appstore. Just look at it. Google won't submit any Google apps to Amazon and while Amazon submits apps to Google Play, Google will lie about compatibility on some of it's devices so they'd have to find some other way to get certain apps or download them from the site. For example, the Sony Internet Google Tv running either android 2.3 or 3.0. Amazon has special apps just for the Google Tv, what does Google NOT say they're compatible with? You guessed it, Google Tv! It may not seem like it at a glance, but if you look behind the curtain, it's pretty obvious they're in a heated rivalry.

I understand what you're saying from a functionality perspective, but part of the reason some people don't use it is strictly due to the enormous hit it takes on your battery life, with all of the location features it relies on.

Currently on an LTE Galaxy Nexus, I have no other option than to largely restrict it, which at that point, means I might as well leave it off (which it is). It's an awesome idea, but another leap too soon, ahead of battery tech.

I agree 100% I had the same thing happen with a reminder I set to remember to get my parking pass when I get to school. I said the name of my school and bam just like that. Literally as I walked in the front doors my reminder popped up. It was like a weird "man, this is the next level" felling. Like you said Jerry it's not just the geo fencing of your pre set home or work location. It's pulling and integrating data from Google Maps which is INSANE! My GF has the HTC One S which just got JB and I set up Google Now for her. She went out of town this weekend and she called me from the airport amazed at the travel info Google Now was pulling up. Flight/hotel check in, time to get to the airport with traffic info, she couldn't believe it. Although she has seen and heard me use those functions on my phone, as you mentioned it's quite different when you experience it for yourself and it's relevant info that "improves" your life or the way you do things. At this point I couldn't picture NOT having Google Now it has trumped any app I've ever downloaded.

Google now doesn't drain your battery any more than having Bluetooth on and it not being connected to anything. The drain (if you can even call it that) is minuscule at best. May I ask what device you use and on what carrier.

Yes, it does. I have a Galaxy Nexus and also keep it disconnected. I am not sure what it is exactly. Constantly checking your position must be one of the main reasons.

Not downplaying your reality (I promise); but, I have yet to experience this battery drain that you speak of. If it is draining the battery, then you're spot-on, about it constantly checking your position.

There could be a setting that is requiring GPS. It could use the cell network instead. I'm just learning to play with it myself. Very cool....but very creepy too.

When you think about it, it is kind of creepy lol. I can only imagine, what our phones will be able to do, in the future. Exciting, but scary at the same time. Definitely, food for thought...

Yes I think about the creepy part too, but I think about what the CEO said about one of Googles laws about not being evil and just pray that it is true.

Don't say that. I just watched terminator 3. Now you're making me think of skynet, nukes, and for some reason zombies. Gotta love them radioactive zombies... :D

Haha yeah, radioactive zombies > regular zombies.

Great minds think alike: I just watched Terminator, the other night. I never get tired of those movies.

She obviously didn't have an Android phone. If she did, when she was locked in the back of the pickup the phone would have recognized that fact and called the police for her as soon as Arnold threw here in.

Remember that you don't HAVE to let Google Now use your GPS. I have found that it works just fine using cell & wifi triangulation. It's not optimal, but it gets the job done. It still pops up with all kinds of notifications and it doesn't drain my battery.

Yes it exists. And its the reason I don't use Google Now as well. I experience 20%+ more battery drain when Google Now is running. I'm on a Razr HD.

I'm using the GSM GNex, with the 3850 extended battery. The battery life wasn't the greatest, before Google Now. So, that may be, why I have yet to notice it.

Blah blah blah...comment on EVERY post du-mass...Nice life you must have in your apt with the shades closed and a box of tissues next to your computer..HAHAHAHA culo!

This from the sad sack of crap making "Your mom..." jokes. What are you gonna do next, Rick Roll him? Talk about pathetic...

I'd be lying, if I said I wasn't jealous lol. I'm really hoping that T-Mobile gets a Motorola phone similar to the Maxx series.

I have a Galaxy Nexus and a Nexus 4 and never experienced any battery drain, maybe its a problem for non-nexus phones

The Galaxy Nexus has terrible battery life period. You could disable every app and put the brightness to the lowest setting, that phone would still die quick.

He's probably referring to the GSM Galaxy Nexus, which has great battery life. The CDMA in the Verizon Galaxy Nexus is what drains it so fast. That and the LTE wasn't baked into the SoC.

I could go 24 hours easily in my GSM Galaxy Nexus.

I have a Note 2 and have turned on Now a couple of times and everytime I have I have noticed the rate of my battery use increase significantly. I have even played with the settings to see what I could do to keep the rate of consumption down but I never found one that I was happy with. This doesn't mean I won't use it again but this is why I do not use it on a consistent basis.

Funny, I have a Nexus 4 and Google Now usage doesn't even register. Screen is always my main hog, and "Maps" (i.e. location services) are down near the bottom at about 5%. I always keep GPS & all location services enabled.

It probably has more to do with Samsung's kernels than Google Now itself.

It definitely has something to do with software or kernels but I don't think its Samsung specific. I have a GS3 and I pretty much never turn my GPS off. On my previous phones(Droid Incredible, then DroidX2), just having the GPS on would drain the battery even if the phone was sitting idle not being used.

However, after not noticing an appreciable difference in battery life on my GS3 I've stopped fiddling with it altogether. I always assumed it had something to do with JB just being better about GPS power use but if the Note2 still has this issue I'm baffled.

I do run a custom Rom but its a TW based rom

ditto here. No battery hit. But hey let's keep writing those apologist articles that say OEM skins are good for android right? Because they're coded so well. lol.

Just to correct you, one of the features that drain batteries the most on devices is GPS, and since Google Now uses GPS to make locating places possible, that is where the drain occurs. The ideal situation like Motorola (Google) has been working on is to have devices that run on great juice and allows you use and enjoy all the thrills and benefits that apps like "Now" offers. Fast forward 2 years or less, we will start seeing that, for now "Google Now" is truely intuitive and the next WOW factor to mobile computing! For now a RAZR MAXX HD can give you all days worth of Google Now, without you looking for a charger.

On JB (and I think ICS), the GPS doesn't stay on all the time. The OS only switches it on when an app needs it. gNow doesn't constantly keep the GPS on to check your location, it only turns it on intermittently, and only for a short period of time. You can check this on the battery stats page. I think (but am not certain), that it uses network and WiFi as a primary source, and only turns the GPS on for a fine location when (a)it sees that you've moved significantly, or (b), something it needs to do requires fine location. I have gNow on all the time, and maps rarely registers as a significant user of battery, and when it does it's generally because I've used maps or navigation.

A far bigger user of battery, in relation to location, is location reporting and check-ins, both of which can (and should) be turned off in the settings in the maps app.

"A far bigger user of battery, in relation to location, is location reporting and check-ins, both of which can (and should) be turned off in the settings in the maps app."

This x1000

"one of the features that drain batteries the most on devices is GPS"

Except when it doesn't. GalaxyS4 on T-Mo and Galaxy Nexus on Verizon. Both have Google Now turned on. Both have GPS turned on. Neither has a battery problem.

Yes, LTE is turned off on the GNex, so feel free to pretend that's relevant if it makes you feel better.

It's not Google Now itself but rather the constant location polling it does that drains you battery. There's an app in the Play Store called Backitude. Install it, spend some time learning how to use it properly and tweaking it, and thank me later. It helped my battery drain tremendously. That being said, after having used Google Now and realizing its voodoo magic, I would gladly continue to use it even with the battery drain. ;-)

Solution, buy 2-3 usb cables to charge it in the car, while at work, and anywhere else you are that has power or a computer close by. One cord doesn't cut it anymore and as cheap as they are on Amazon, there really is no excuse not to have 4 or 5 of them.

I've just never understood the desire to spend hundreds of dollars of a brilliant phone with amazing capabilities, and then turn it into a feature phone because all those great capabilities use some battery. I'm not saying you do this, but there are tons of posts from people complaining because they ONLY get 15, or 25 or 35 hours on a charge. What's so hard about plugging it in every night?

For Pete's sake, people, it's a computer. An always connected computer that keeps you in touch with the world. Use it like it was intended, and plug it in a couple of hours every day. "Live by power outlets," give me a break! Spend $10 on a car charger, or a couple of spare batteries, and take advantage of what your phone is capable of.

More like 6 hours with super light use in my experience with it. Might be a Samsung thing though. I don't find 6 hours of super light use acceptable when it's more of a solution looking for a problem rather than a must-have feature.

I tend to turn these amazing features on when I need them and off when I don't. Letting them unnecessarily kill my battery isn't my style.

It's not really any different from flashing a custom ROM because you don't want all the OEM bloat...or, by your definition, amazing capabilities.

And I usually do plug in when I'm in the car if I'm going to nav. I don't plug it in if I'm just running local errands or something.

solution is external 2600+ mah battery with or without solar charging.
they are cheap but smart investition ;-)

Also nice is that you can select a different location if you don't want the closest. There are multiple Kroger stores in my area, and I don't usually go to the closest one because there's a bigger one just down the road with a better selection. All I had to do to change the reminder was tap the address it pulled up for the closest one, tap "set location", and Google Now gave me a list of all the local Kroger stores to choose from.

It just keeps getting better and better.

Not working so well for me.

When I tell it "Frys", a local grocery store chain, it suggests the nearby Frys Electronics. If I say "Frys Foods" I get one of the local Frys but not the closest that I always shop at. Trying to set the location I get a list of 5 stores (not including the suggested one) and none of those are remotely close to me.

Edit:
Used Google Now to ask for the closest Frys grocery store and got a list of three. Two are listed as Frys Food Store and MY Frys is a Frys Marketplace. Using THAT name for my reminder works fine.

But YOU shouldn't have to do this. gNow should be smart enough so that if you say "remind me when I'm at Kroger" it reminds you when you're at ANY Kroger. Right now, it's still half-baked.

As much as I agree that Google Now is brilliant I must also stress that it is completely useless for many millions of Android users, simple because it doesn't work in their language.

+1

And for millions of others, it works at severely reduced functionality simply because they don't live in the US.

Thanks to the Redwings. it was almost the usual Chicago sporting embarrassment if the blackhawks won 23 straight in regular season only to be almost dumped out in play offs.

No, beat up would be a misuse of the term. You won the first game but we beat up on you the second game. That's a correct statement. 4 home runs in a inning and one is a grand slam...thats beat up.

Chicago isnt a good team... they had the refs the whole series... if they were not the Gary Betman's favorite team they would of lost in 5. Worst calls in the playoffs in favor of Chicago.

Don't know of too many bad teams winning as many games in a row as they did during the regular season. And I guess you missed that bad call against the blackhawks in the last game that would've made overtime unnecessary.

The reminders feature has a way to go before it's really useful for me. I haven't had luck getting it to remind me of anything at locations other than home and work. I also need for it to give me reminders when I LEAVE a location, not just when I arrive at a one. Also, there should be a way from the reminder dialog to jump to a map so I can tap on the location I want for the reminder. The reverse would also be handy: from Google Maps, when tapping on a spot, one of the options should be to set a location-based reminder for that spot. Finally, reminders need to be editable.
Finally, finally, Google needs to combine the various tools they have for scheduled and reminders. You have Google Calendar, Google Tasks (which can appear in Google Calendar Desktop, but not Calendar mobile app), Google Tasks (which lacks reminders/alerts), and now Google Now reminders. Time-based reminders and tasks should be on the calendar!

Reminders are editable. When you create one, you can edit time, location and what the message is. After you have accepted that as the reminder, open the overflow and go to My Reminders for a list of past and pending reminders you have created.

I wish Google would love us Canadians as much as they love Americans. Limited Google Apps (or just non functional like Google Voice)

Maybe it's because I live in a smaller city, but Google Now seems limited compared to what it's capable of in the US

I live in a town that is not very big and the things that pop up are limited. But when I was in Chicago a few weeks back the amount of things that Google now displayed was seriously impressive.

Welcome to 2013 jerry! This isn't going to be a smartphone only tech. Google now will not only be a huge party of any wearable tech, but it's going to be Chrome's default homepage soon enough. Basically anything with a screen and an internet connection will have Google now on it.

I disagree and have Google Now disabled on all my devices because I find it much more efficient to actively use apps and/or the web browser to find information I need or to make a list of needed items when I plan on going to the store (ex. S Note on my Note 2 is awesome for that! Or gasp, sometimes I just go old school and write them down on paper!). And the best part is I can do it without having to give Google any more of my personal information (Google Now requires that you enable location and web history in order to do its thing). :)

Fully agree, Google has grown way too comfortable getting rich knowing way too much about me, and apparently most here approve of being sheep for their balance sheet

Yes. Embrace it. All these privacy nuts. I got nothing to hide, and I don't need to where a tinfoil hat. What I need is something to remind to get that thing so my wife doesn't nag at me!

Nothing is free, and personally I'd rather pay them with data than money.

Besides, they're not collecting anything that they haven't been all along... they're just starting to use the data more intelligently to benefit their users, not just their (advertising) clients.

Privacy is an illusion. Did you watch the coverage of the Boston bombing? You carrier knows where you are whenever your phone is turned on, and they will happily share that information with the government without even a warrant. I'm far less concerned about Google than I am about the FBI, NSA, and DHS. So Google makes a little money knowing where I am and what I'm doing. The government will use it to accuse me of a crime because I happened to be somewhere when the crime occurred.

Are you saying the authorities accused every Boston spectator as the perpetrator simply because they were in attendance?

Please, tell me more.

Location can be determined without GPS. There are 3 location services on your phone.....google...vzw....and GPS. The most accurate is GPS, but the others go by the wifi or cell network you are connected to.

Well, I'm not on Verizon. But I get your point. How can Google know I'm at Food Lion without GPS though? My cell triangulation has never gotten me down to less than 2800 meters of accuracy. That's my entire town. I could be at the bank across town and Now would be popping up "yo, get milk."

Actually, it can also use WiFi networks to determine location, even if you're not connected to the network. So it sees "Kroger Free Wi-Fi" and it knows "Hey, he's at Kroger!"..

And what if there's no free WiFi anyway?

In other words, if all you have is GPS and cell, and cell isn't precise enough, how can it not drain? I don't see a way around constant GPS hits.

It doesn't need to be connected to the wifi. It just needs to detect the networks around you. And if you choose not to have wifi on, that's your choice, just like keeping gps off

But again keeping WiFi off and GPS off means Now wouldn't really work as intended. So tell me how you can use Now without GPS killing your battery? For people who don't live in cities with free WiFi everywhere. Additionally, those WiFi scans use battery too.

To be clear, I do understand the difference between finding and connecting. But they do have to exist to be found. You'd be surprised how many areas don't have them to be found in the first place. I'm not leaving my WiFi on because I know the few places they do exist so I'm better off turning it on manually when I get there. Scanning constantly when it would locate private/secure or nothing at all would be a waste of resources.

I have GPS, wifi and bluetooth always enabled. RAZR MAXX HD. Plenty of battery life.

The one thing I wish Google Now could do is give me real time status updates of my packages from the app without having to open the respective web page (UPS, USPS) or at the very least open the respective app on my phone.

I cant really feel you jerry since I'm in a third world country and lets just say it isnt as effective as in say N.A or Europe. But google now is definetly fantastic.

When Google figures out how to implement voice dialing features correctly using Bluetooth, I'll use it. Until then GNow is pretty much worthless.

I do love this feature, but my wife's iPhone has been doing this for a long time, I'm glad google finally has this. BTW how do I see my current reminders?

I haven't used Google now all that much so I have a few questions.

1. For non location based reminders (ones that are date and time specific), is there any way to automatically have them added to your Google calendar?

2. Is there any way to make this feature hands free where you're not required to tap to confirm, but instead just say "OK" or "yes"?

3. For this feature, do you have to pick a specific location? If I say "remind me to get _______ when I am at target" will it work if I go to any target or just the one closest to my current location?

4. Is there any way to set up Google Now to monitor other email addresses, or is it strictly my gmail and emails set up to forward to my gmail? For example what about my school email, yahoo, or iCloud?

What the author is describing is very similar to what Siri can do. My husband (who owns an iPhone 5) has told Siri to remind him to use our reusable shopping bags whenever we go to Albertsons. So when we get to the Albertsons' parking lot, his phone chimes and displays a reminder. The main difference was in how the reminder was set up. The only way to get it to work properly was to set up the reminder while we were at Albertsons. Supposedly you can create a contact for the market, then Siri would use that information to create the reminder. But it never worked correctly. I'm guessing iOS7 will fix that problem.

What would make Google Now even more impressive, would be if you didn't have to choose a supermarket in advance. Then it would activate the reminder if you drove to any supermarket. Still sounds cool as it is, so I'm looking forward to downloading it and giving it a spin.

Well said jerry.. last night I bought movie tickets for a 10:40 showing via fandango. Google Now tracked my home and the movie theater, calculated how long it'll take me to get there, and told me when to leave!!! 5 years? Try 2 or 3.

I don't watch much TV, but I tend to watch PBS Nova. A couple of days ago, I got a card in Google Now that a new episode was coming up. I've gotten most of the other cards but I've never seen or heard about that capability. I was impressed.

I think Google Now is the best feature to ever be created for a smartphone. It an already do so much and the possibilities are endless.

I think it's useful but coming from iOS, the same was said of Siri, and that chick is just plain dumb. I've used Now a few times and it is pretty convenient for a few circumstances, but at this level I see it as more novelty than turning point for the mobile device industry. Interesting article, but I can't agree with the author at this point.

It's a great service but still needs some tweaking. Like when it keeps popping up a card for some stock I don't own or follow. In fact, I don't own any stocks at all. I tell it not to follow and swipe away the card but it still appears at least daily.

It will become more useful when you have much more control over the notifications (whether you get one, frequency, vibrate or not and tone) for each of the different types of notification.

There's actually quite a bit of control, if you can fine it hidden in settings. Google still has a LONG, LONG way to go in terms of building relatively intuitive UIs. Apple is over-rated in that area, but they're still way ahead of Google.

It is cool but it's kind of Creepy too! I've had 2 weird moments.

The first happened even before this most recent upgrade. I was talking to a friend by VOICE (regular phone call) about a movie and possibly going to see it. I didn't do a search, or even text him about it but the next time I pulled up Now to search for something else, the first "card" was the times for THAT movie at the nearest theater.

The 2nd was this past week when I pulled up a search on my phone and the most recent searches I had done ON MY COMPUTER were listed. I know that all my accounts sync but that was a bit creepy to know that they are THAT synced.

Another one that's pretty convenient is that I travel between 2 locations every week. I have a house in one state and an apartment that I live in in the next state over. When I pull up the navigator, depending on which day it is, it knows which location I'm normally heading to and puts it at the top of the list.

I guess it's cool but also really scary (Especially since I just read Brad Thor's "Blacklist").

Shoot...I been using it to remind me to take the trash and the recycling bin out certain days of the week. Works ever time! !!

I'm just asking to Google to have a more complete Gmail app. Even iPhone has the Gmail app that let you move emails to a folder, not like us in our android devices...

When Google start paying their fair share of Tax I might consider some of their other services. Already switched to Bing and considerin movin away from Android.

There's always one yahoo that doesn't understand the difference between a legal loophole and tax evasion, Google, Apple, and Microsoft have done NOTHING illegal, they just used the available tax loopholes or as us regular people call them deductions. And the worse part is that this "sudden" interest in a non crime is just another tactic used in Washington to try and divert people's attention away from the scandals that are rocking the White House

Now back to talking about how awesome Google Now really is

Another one of those "fair share" dipshits. Go suck up to Obama and his "fair share" policies that believes everyone should be the same.

I can't agree with you more, Jerry. And thank you for pointing out the locational features that come with reminders, as I hadn't noticed them myself -- even though the setting was right there, staring me in the face the whole time.

As always, excellent write-up. You, sir, are scholar and a gentleman.

Am I the only one who thinks it's stupid that it asks you to choose a certain food lion (for ex.)? What if you happen to stop by a different food lion? No aspirin reminder? Why not?

Wouldn't it make way more sense to just remind you when you arrived at ANY food lion?

Better still, any store that would sell aspirin. Drug stores, other grocery stores, walmarts, targets, etc.

I wasn't expecting it to work in Australia but it did. Even if it cut off and left me with a reminder to "buy" when im at my local Safeway. But seriously impressive and powerful

awesome tool. mine tells me it's time to leave for an appointment based on where I am and where I need to be. Too bad the reminder is now several hours after the appointment. It did actually work for about a week.

I've been using a device that does all this for years. Its called a brain. Sadly all these things like siri and now do is encourage you to use your brain less. Technology should enhance your life not run it. Just waiting for the first court cases, "honest judge google now made me do it"

Ha! I had that thought as well. It's a big reason my simple math skills have gone downhill as I tend to use the calculator on my phone which then continues to re-enforce my poor math skills (and laziness in not trying to use them). :(

My home's gas furnace has really decreased my ability to chop logs with an axe. Similarly, I've found that my ability to hook horses up to a covered wagon is quite poor due to my use of an automobile.

Now ask me if I give a f***.

Google Now would be even better if my phone actually had it! Unfortunately u need Jellybean and I'm stuck with ICS!

Gee, and it's really too bad that MS Excel 2010 won't run on Windows XP!

Give me a break. New versions of the OS build in new services that new apps take advantage of. If app developers had to build to the oldest phone still in use we'd have nothing new at all.

Maybe you should choose your carrier or brand of phone more wisely next time.

Or maybe u should stfu. I picked the carrier with the best coverage at the time & unfortunately that was Verizon. The best phone they had at that time was the HTC Rezound, which is capable of running JB. Don't tell me anything about choosing anything more wisely if ur not living in my shoes. Some of u dorks are a joke & like to make comments without thinking first. Now that the other carriers are starting to finally catch up I have better options when my contract is up.

So you suggest Android users be forced to upgrade every 6 months or so in order to use Google's latest and greatest voice search? Maybe they should just buy a 4-5 year old iPhone 3GS? How does it make any possible sense that Google can write a Google Now app that will work on a 4 year old Apple device but NOT create an Android version that will work on a 1 year old phone running their own OS?
And now we know why that stupid joke exists..."If you want the best "Google experience" buy an iPhone".

Personally I love Google Now on my N4 but I don't think I should have had to root and custom rom my wife's phone in order for her to be able to use it.

If you are rooted, you can set up Google Now to run on a quick double-press of the home button.

I downloaded a free program called "Home2 Shortcut" off of Google Play. It allows me to configure the home button so that when I hit it twice, it opens up Google Now instead of S-Voice. (I have a Galaxy S3)

The following instructions on how to set this up have been around since April of 2012, so is not new, but now perhaps more compelling?

http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1823194

One clarification: at the very end of the process, you reboot your phone. At the end of the reboot, when it asks you which launcher program you want to run by default, choose Home2 Shortcut. That's not made clear in the instructions.

Thanks for the article, Jerry. I quite agree.

I keep reading all these great things about it but unfortunately I'm yet to see it do anything particularly useful. I have a nexus 4, nexus 7 and I work on a computer all day signed into google and I'm still waiting for it to display something other than the weather, nearby attractions or the same map everyday and its yet to pick up even one delivery tracking number or flight info.

Same here I've turned it off because it never displays anything of value, it keeps trying to give me train times but for some reason always gets where I am wrong so the information is worthless.

I've been really disappointed with Google now compared to the claims Google makes for it. The only card I've ever seen work is the 'minutes to home' one. Sometimes if I search for something it'll tell me how to get there but more than 50% of the time it'll give me directions to the *wrong* location.

It's much quicker and easier to bring up maps and navigate to where I want to go than hope Google now has (a) picked up the location correctly, and (b) feels like showing the card today.

The reminder example given just brought up random search results.. Presume Nexus devices don't have the upgrade yet.

Google Now continues to surprise and amaze me.

I live out in the boonies, and I had an eye appointment about 90 minutes away. I had the appointment with its location on my Google calendar, but through some brain f@rt I'd set the reminder for only 1 hour ahead of the appointment.

About an hour and 45 minutes before the appointment, Google Now chimes and pops up with "it's time to leave for your appointment", with a map of the route and a button to click to open Nav.

I love this thing.

ONLY if you live in the US/Canada or the UK. I dont even have it turned on because its really not worth the battery usage for the one or two cards that pop up a week.

But sure.. Maybe in the future.

It would be nice if it would actually show the tracking updates that is promises. I've purchased a TON of stuff that has come by UPS, FedEx, and USPS. All with tracking numbers sent to my Gmail account. How many shipping cards have I gotten? In round numbers, that would be ZERO! Not sure the reason for that failure.

No disrespect Jerry, but have you been living under a rock? Google Now has been doing this stuff for a while. It must be a slow day for news.

The first time I experienced something like that was my phone popping up telling me I needed to leave twenty minutes earlier for a meeting because there was heavy traffic between my current location and the meeting location. I was like...whoa. And of course there was an accident on my way, and I would've been late if not for Google Now. That was awesome and blew my mind.

And I didn't know about the reminder by location. That is cool. Will start using it immediately. Does it work if you say something like 'remind me to get milk on the way home' since Google Now knows where 'home' is?

I keep seeing privacy concerns in these comments and how "creepy" it is and there is a simple solution if you have such a concern over privacy, is to not use the service. Don't buy an android phone, don't sign up for a gmail account, etc. I think Google has been pretty open on their usage of your data and on the issue of privacy. I'm an advocate for Google Now. I want it to learn more about my habits, purchases, likes, dislikes, etc. because I want a more personalized experience. You are fooling yourself if you think other companies aren't collecting your data and using it to their benefit, or selling it to other companies. Embrace it, or just don't use Google services. It's quite simple.

Lol google now is amazing because it reminded you to get aspirin? Yikes. Why don't you just add it to your shopping list?

Why the "in five years" bit Jerry? The UK is a few steps behind you; but Now looks really interesting, like many of Google's services. The pace of change is quite brisk, so I expect quite big changes in the next year or two.

Remember Elop and his "Battle of Ecosystems" moment. We seem to be living through the shift to proactive services, prompting us without ever being told. If your phone (or the services behind it) was aware of all your shopping, purchases, road tax and services usage - they would tell us automatically! Naturally this will bring up privacy and security questions; but for the most part Google, Tesco and the services suppliers have all this information now and use it to make their plans.

I wont be using Google Now again until Google gives more control. The most anoyning thing I found on the first day of use was that it keep telling me that it is time to leave for an appointment on a co-workers calendar.
After a few days and searching until I turned blue on trying to get it to stop. Google Now went bye bye and wont be turned back on anytime soon.

Perhaps no one will be using Google Now in the future because it has been added the the list of software that infringes upon some apple patent and that determination will be made by some Judge or jury that may not be all that tech knowledgeable. Lets just wait and see who is on this jury.
Got that everyone? Got IT?

For me Google Now is among the best functionality that has ever been delivered to me. It has become more compelling with each upgrade and I can't wait to see what new card info will be added.

BUT refer to my first paragraph. We may not get to see its full potential.

I use Google Now on the HTC One and haven't noticed any battery drain. Google Now is awesome and I've come to rely on it consistently

So what happens if you go to a different Food Lion, instead of the closest one? Say, one that's on your way home from work? I gNow smart enough to know that? If not, it's got a long way to go. I'm sure Google will continue to improve it, as they do with much (but far from all) of their products.

But what it needs to be able to do is understand "Remind me to buy some aspirin the next time I'm at the grocery store," and remind me when I'm at ANY grocery store, not just a specific one that I need to choose.

Or, as I stated before, any place that's highly likely to sell aspirin. Drug stores and even truck stops/convenience stores have it. You should obviously have the ability to "opt out" of a location and it should remind or ask when you hit another spot.

This should obviously be configurable in settings like "do you want Now to suggest similar locations?" or something.

All these posts complaining that gNow doesn't offer you enough "control" over what it shows you. Learn how to use your phone, folks!

Go to gNow, tap Menu / Settings, and tap where it says "All cards." Now turn off the cards you're not interested in, and make sure you the ones you are interested in are turned on.

Lot's of control, if you make use of it.

And right underneath "All cards", you can do the same thing for notifications.

Oh, under "My stuff," you can probably turn off that stock reminder.

A lot of people don't realize that the setting name of many toggles is clickable for more options.

It took me a little while to catch this, and sometimes I still forget. Some are not clickable though, which can add to the confusion.

I was stuck on ics with my Epic 4G Touch before rooting to jellybean because I had gotten it replaced and holy crap did I miss Google Now!

Didn't realize how much I relied on it until I didn't have it anymore.

I recently took a trip to Japan, as soon as i got my phone a data connection google now came alive and really impressed me on my trip!

Why can't I find Google NOW app on my phone nor play store for neither of my phone nor tablet? An HTC Rezound and Google nexus 7. Where is it please?

its just GOOGLE. It doesnt have a google now app. just download google seach, or open it, and that is the app you need.

I don't get it. Google search is google now?
These people are talking about more than that.
How could a Google nexus 7 tablet not have this?
Doesn't exist. Everyone is crazy except me.

It doesn't do a very good job of figuring out where I am. I told it to remind me to pick up an Italian boule at Publix, before I left home. I went to the store. No reminder. I was walking all over Publix doing my other shopping and it never picked up the fact that I was actually AT the store. After checkout (yes, I stopped by the bakery), while in the parking lot, I opened google maps and let it find me. Only THEN did I get the reminder.

It needs work. But I see the potential.

JERRY, or anyone really,

Can anyone confirm if GOogle Now should be working for my DHL shipment? i received tracking info to my gmail and didnt get a card at all. curious if only certain carriers......

I'm not knocking Google Now because a lot of people seem to use and like it but for me it seemed rather pointless. Maybe my life just isn't that exciting.

I had it activated on my Optimus G for about 3 months and all it ever did was:

-Give me the traffic for the route I DON'T take to/from work. Sure, it chose the most efficient route but it wasn't the one I actually take because my girlfriend and I carpool.

-Told me sporadically when the street cars arrive at the stop near my home - I rarely take transit but it was so unpredictable it's not like it would be able to give me the information those few times that I WOULD want it.

-Recognized that I was near a movie theatre and told me all of the show times. Usually when I go to a theatre I've decided long in advance what I'm seeing and when - that's why I'm THERE.

-Gave me directions to a friend's house that I had already looked up on my desktop

-Sucked the life out of my battery. "Maps" became the single biggest user of battery on my phone other than the display.

The geek in me found all of those things rather neat I admit but for me none of them were useful enough to justify the excess battery drain.

Google Now is a great idea, but in practice it hasn't been as useful as I had hoped. The most useful part of it for me has been weather and search, both of which are easily accessible other ways. Additionally, the search and voice command part of Google Now has gotten slow. In previous versions, it would give search results or recognize the voice command almost instantaneously. Now the first search or command I perform immediately after launching Google Now takes fifteen seconds! Subsequent searches (if I don't back out of Google Now) are immediate. But if I back completely out of Google Now and re-launch it, the first search I do again takes fifteen seconds or so. This makes Google Now a lot less useful for me.

What's missing from Google Now? The same thing that's missing from Android in general. Documentation.

"The next time I'm at PLACE remind me to THING."

Where's the list of possible commands including this one? Even just a list of examples would be useful to show what sort of thing can be done.

I tried doing this exact thing. Got the verification card and hit the "Set reminder" button...but never got the reminder when I was at the designated location. I was there for a good ten minutes and kept checking for it to come through, but nothing happened. So now I'm not so psyched about this feature...

I don't get it. Google search is google now?
These people are talking about more than that.
How could a Google nexus 7 tablet not have this?
Doesn't exist. Everyone is crazy except me.

I have found the "remind me when I get home/to work" feature *super* useful, as I tend to get busy and forget to take care of things. The first time I set one of those up at work, it was a bit surprising when it went off as I pulled into the parking spot at my apartment complex. I want a "grocery list" feature for Now: "add milk to my grocery list".

I'm loving Google Now. As a fairly absent minded person who is constantly running around, the ability to have a system remind me when I need to leave to be places on time, or give me geo-coded reminders to take care of things, is priceless.

This has to be one of the LAMEST lazy ass functions people won't use.

Really? I'm going to give up my location because I can't remember to buy effing aspirin?

If you can't keep a list of the stuff you need to buy when you take your lazy ass off the couch to actually interact in public - you deserve 40k volts under your keister to remind you.

I'll never use my smartphone for this stupid suggestion.

Where do i begin with how stupid you are.... its a feature. you don't have to use it. the article is merely giving an example of how far tech has come. the purpose of our phones has gone far beyond making a call. once upon a time a to-do list was a piece of paper and you could still easily forget to do your to-do list. then it became digital on your phone but then you had to keep checking it to see what you had to do. now you can say what to do when you need to do it and your phone will remind you at that moment. its a cool little feature he wanted to tell people about.

p.s. save your crap im sure you use your "smartphone" for much stupider things

It's a great idea but it's still a little flaky. I can get it to remind me to buy cat food next time I'm at Sainsbury, but I can't get it to remind me to get fuel next time I leave the house or call my partner when I leave the office. Google voice recognition has come on amazingly in the last six months for me, but we still need a way to spell words out and a way to attach small audio signatures to contacts.

I find it completely useless. I have a Nexus 7 and all it ever shows me is the weather. Since I already have a good weather app on the home screen, it is completely redundant. It is supposed to show what is on at the local movie theatres, but it never does. I have to do a google search or go to the bookmark on the browser. I can live without it.

Since the day I started using Chrome from Dec. 2013, as a platform on my PC (I am using my PC since Dec.1999), I feel so relaxed and am enjoying working on my PC (I just love my PC since all my friends are in it). I would like to congratulate the team - Google.com for making life easy, tension free, convenient and worth LIVING. Once again, Thanks a lot. sunderkt at gmail dot com (in Mumbai, IN).
I am using my Samsung mobile model S 7582 and am surprised to find that it works with Google.com in perfect harmoney. My PC is so nicely tuned with my mobile, that I find it a sheer pleasure to use both and feel good all the time, all the way. God created life, but when it comes to living, 100% credit goes to Google, the great. Once again, three cheers for the team. Kind Regards! Sunder Thadani (84 years old man from Mumbai, IN)