Google Search

Google today let loose a new version of its Search app for iOS devices. Is it as good as the voice search you find in Android and Google Now? When it comes to results, yes. That is to say, when we took Google's test questions for a spin, using Google Now to launch the search (just because we felt like it) we got the same results -- in just about the same response time -- on a Galaxy Nexus as we did on iOS 6.

Why'd we use the same questions Google highlighted on its blog post announcing the update? For one simple reason: Siri, for want of an better term, sucks. And anyone who's ever tried to do the same searches Apple showcased in its advertisements is quite possibly still waiting for an answer. So we wanted to put Google's examples to the test. And we threw in one wild card at the end.

How'd they stack up? Pretty evenly matched, I think. You'd expect the results to be the same, of course. Response time is what I was really curious about. Have a gander at the video after the break and see for yourself.

There are 59 comments

frettfreak says:

cool.. now my frieds with an iphone get to use google now before my friends that supported android but got stuck with a BS phone that didnt get upgraded.... sweet.

a22matic says:

You make sense... I thought the same thing while reading the article. My EVO LTE sure doesn't have Google Now. Guess I'll wait a little longer...

yankele says:

Mmm, have you heard of root? I'm on CM10 on my EVO LTE and obviously have Google Now... I guess there are people that are still not rooting their phones.

a22matic says:

I've heard of it, but I've never rooted before. There are some users who are not into rooting. The majority of phone user's don't root.

frettfreak says:

yes, root would solve this issue... however, rooting is NOT the answer. ICS devices should at least be able to have the same functionality available to our largest competitor. You shouldn't HAVE to root to get the same functionality that google gives iPhones. I root all my phones day 1.... but i leave my wifes stock. Why? Cause rooting is just not her gig. There are ALWAYS bugs and shit that most users just dont want to deal with.

frettfreak says:

i know you can get it on ICS devices now, but not sure if they were able to crack it to work with sense yet. Just google a bit and you may find it...

rstuckmaier says:

Maybe you should have R EVO LTE D...

I'll show myself out.

fedess says:

such a good point! and is it just me or it actually looks and works a tiny bit better too on the iPhone?

shallyman says:

From the video it wasn't really clear but the iPhone obviously has a lot less functionality (with Google Now on android it interacts with your whole phone not just Google searches) also the iPhone's speech to text wasn't as good (if you look closely it thought he said "what IS Yankee Stadium look like" while the Nexus got it perfectly. It did open the trailer straight away though which was nice. I asked Google Now the same thing on my Atrix 4g (with CM10) and it opened it straight away as well so I'm not sure why it didn't with the Nexus

sk8er_tor says:

I don't understand anything you said.

spacetug says:

It's not actually Google Now. It's just search. Google Now is the cards. Passive notifications, context-sensitive information, etc. That's still JB-only.

BrianTufo says:

Yeah this is a JB only feature but then they give it to iOS?! Wow that really pisses me off. Don't tell me to root and ROM that's not how it should work.

ultravisitor says:


That's not Google Now. That's just Google Search.

Eric Rossman says:

Why are people confused? Look again, this is not Google Now ported to the iPhone. This is Google Search on iOS (same app that all of us Android fellows have had embedded into our devices for years). I could make this comparison between Eclair and an iPhone5.

The confusion is that Phil used Google Now instead of the Android version of Google Search (aka the default search widget for everything not JB) during this comparison. Phil was "jumping the shark" a bit to show that Google Now also voices the answers; which can be the same comparison in an android OS only scenario between Google Now and legacy Google Search apps.

-good times :)

briankurtz79 says:

This is GOOGLE SEARCH which anyone with an Android phone and a stock browser has. Push the mic button, ask the question. Same result.

d2globalinc says:

Nexus or Nothing.

Zindoh says:

Kind of lame Google updates the IOS app and the JB version of search but all other Android users are left out??

Considering what?? 2 percent of android users, if that, are actually running JB.
ICS users have been waiting for the upgraded search for awhile now???

still1 says:

iphone Requires iOS 4.3 or later. now who's fault is that its not available for previous release??? not google's

Eric Rossman says:

Nothing to see here, Google released a Search app for iOS that now gives our Apple friends the wonderful Google search engine (with speech recognition) that we take for granted.

Commodus says:

Waiting for the obligatory gripe: "why is Google putting its best technology on the iPhone, argle bargle grrrrr!"

As people forget, Google's business is search, not hardware. It doesn't make money by 'punishing' Apple and withholding products.

Zindoh says:

I agree with you, but should you not take care of as well as promote your software apps progression amongst your own eco system as well??

Commodus says:

When search is an OS-level feature in Android, and the OS has an inherent problem with delivering updates to older phones, that's just how it has to be. The only reliable options are to either go for a Nexus or switch platforms.

sk8er_tor says:

The bottom line for Google is to make money. With Siri, they have no clue who or where the search query is originating from which affects ads. This is one way for them to get this info.

carraser891 says:

nice. so iphone users get to use the new search before the millions of android users without jelly bean do..nice job guys, well done.

mynameisLOS says:

Yeah I'm on ICS so.. I call bs. Google usually doesnt tick me off but this time is different...

bryanw504 says:

People once again blame Google for slow updates and why they are not on the latest version of android and can't get the apps. Wow how many times must we go thru this. IT'S NOT GOOGLES FAULT!!!!!!

1. Blame the samsung's, htc's, and the motorola's as well as LG for the slow and painful updates.

2. Then blame the carriers for sticking their noses where it doesn't belong.

That's why the majority are still stuck on GB and older versions. So we just expect google to hold off on new software because those mentioned above can't keep up? That's BS we all know we can root and rom as thats the fun of Android, if you don't want to do this then get a Nexus (a GSM unlocked Nexus as we have seen what Verizon and Sprint do) Verizon being the worst of the two. If you don't want to go that route then don't complain there are a lot of options to choose from to be updated. But don't blame google they get it to the Top phone makers in a timely fashion its not their fault that they choose to skin it then the carriers choose to bloat it up.

Moral of the story, make sure you have someone to blame. Finding who is to blame, and blaming them accordingly is what is most important.

Zindoh says:

They could, Google, stick it out there just like they did the new stand alone calendar app. No carriers or no manufacturers involved at all.

Wesley1 says:

BS, Google should and could offer it on Gingerbread and ICS too.

rkirmeier says:

Ok guys maybe I am wrong here.. Google Now and Google search are not the same thing. Google Now provides more then search, it's a real-time assistant. Every Android had Google search... Maybe older phones don't get the new search app? Just thought I would point this out. I have JB so I can't test but someone on ICS should check for a Google search update and test it. It may not read back to you like Google Now does but should still provide the results... Again, I may be wrong...

_X_ says:

You might want to read the product description before you try to clarify things

mlacla22 says:

What am I missing?

From the Google Search App description:

The fastest, easiest way to find what you need on the web and on your device.
Google Search app for Android: The fastest, easiest way to find what you need on the web and on your device.
* Quickly search the web and your phone or tablet
* Use your voice to search and more
* Get personalized results based on your location
Plus: *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, and more (Google Now is currently available on Android 4.1, Jelly Bean).

Yes, it is in Google Now, IF you have Jelly Bean. But the iPod in the vid probably wasn't running JB. Just a guess. Neither does my old Droid X, but, that is still compatible with the Search app Search doesn't have any of the cards that Google now gives you. Google Now is a personalized search, it gives you info before you ask it.

Eldwafio says:

Surely most people who read and reply to this site either can orhave rooted their phones? If so, get over to xda and search for the Google now for ICS project. I've been running the mikey7 apk on rooted stock for a while and it's nigh on perfect

gtownie says:

Put simply - something isn't right with the system when every (or almost every) iphone is able to have one of Android's most touted features, while the overwhelming majority of Android's own users aren't getting that experience. I get that everyone wants to blame carriers and OEM manufacturers and instruct those who care to simply root their phones, but many folks on these sites seem to forget that an incredible majority of consumer Android users don't even know what root is.

It is a huge problem, and has been for a while, that the original developer of Android (Google) isn't able to implement Android's newest features onto the phones. Heck, Verizon announced a new LG phone today that is shipping with ICS. Seriously? I've got an Evo 4g LTE running CM10 and love it. But as a rooted user with a custom rom, I'm in the extreme minority.

ISS2 says:

Running Google now on my atrix 2 via the unofficial CM10 and it's quite awesome. More importantly, useful. If you have the ability to follow simple directions and some heart, you can have anything you want on your phone that your phone's devs can support. Stop waiting and start flashing...

I agree with clarifying that most of the blame for the fact that a lot of android phones still don't have ICS much less JB, is to be blamed on the hardware company &carriers who stick their nose where it doesn't belong (Verizon with the nexus) & google is a software company &with the way Siri works corrupting their profit is aweful so there is a need to make their google search app better, but it should be noted its different than the google now. &the google search on the ICS is as good, if not better since it can be a widget on android, than the iPhone. But googles hast updates releasing new android OS when people still haven't got the recent one is crazy, &not providing a developers kit &beforehand notice to the companies that make android phones with their own layover is stupid, it needs to organize. But anyhow, we can, and we should use custom ROMs to be on par with the latest updates or get nexus if we're too bothered by the lag of updates. Although, manufacturers should provide the mobile users with an option to download a vanilla version of the android OS while they working the updates and carriers should go suck a dick and not interfere with the update system.

Yeah, it's cool that Iphone users get it but why can't they release it to everyone using android devices not using JB? I'm on ICS on my Razr and it sucks to see other Android/Google supporters having to wait for God-knows-how-long before JB just for this app which was ported to IOS. If it can be ported to IOS I'm sure they can do the same for pre JB devices.

mlacla22 says:

You do have it..or you can download it from Google Play.

This is just voice search. This is NOT Google Now.

true but it's Google now that IOS received today and it's the one we're still missing out of pre-JB releases. Thanks for the tip though.

brendilon says:

No, it isn't. Read the article. iOS got updated Google search. Not Google Now. Christ, you would think readers of this site would be more discerning but half the folks here are bitching about iOS getting Google Now when iOS did NOT get Google Now. Not to mention you can download an updated Google Search from the Play store.

Reading comprehension people!

diskoman69 says:

+1! What ^^^^^ just said. SMH at some of these so-called tech "enthusiasts" reading comprehension levels and app knowledge.

Taz89 says:

Is it Google now or Google search cause those 2 are different things.. Google now Is all the cards that show up without you asking and all the automatic reminders etc... I doubt Google have gotten that on the ios.

kboss375 says:

I use to not buy into the whole "nexus or nothing" talk, but now I'm really starting to see why this argument, is the only one you need. Google puts out their latest OS to all the manufactures right when they announce it, and then its pushed to the nexus.

It's the carriers and skin makers that slow it down for the rest of us. Google now as been out for months, everyone has had their chance to update their phones and they have not. So this is NOT Google's fault. Blame Samsung, HTC, Moto...VERIZON..

Shadow Death says:

This will probably get pulled from the apple market like so many other things have.

svinyard says:

The ignorance on here regarding Google Now vs Google Search is astounding. This is not Google Now, you can do these same things on GB or ICS. It will have small differences (auto playing video) but that is it. FFS

Zindoh says:

I am sorry but my Google search on ICS is not nearly as robust, accurate, or as interactive as the new JB Google search, which has Google Now included, or the new IOS search app.

Small_law says:

The big draw back with Siri is the fact that if it can't get a result from app data, it asks you if it should search the web. Don't ask me to search for something I asked for, just pull down the data! There is NO NEED for it to ask me again. It's why Google Now is superior. It just finds what you want as quickly as possible.

vwl5004 says:

it is annoying that youd have to hit a button to search the web, but there is nothing in this video that siri couldnt do.

searching yankee statium brings up the map image, but not the image results from google, unless you word it differently when asking

Touchpaddle says:

Let me put it as bluntly as I can...

What the heck is Google thinking? This is a major slap in the face(twice) for
loyal Android users who are still on ICS.(either voluntarily or due to slowness
of carrier's testing of OTA updates)

Does Google not value our loyalty?

brendilon says:

That'S not it at all. Google just thinks you're smart enough to know the difference between Google Search and Google Now. From the idiotic comments here, they were clearly wrong.

jlschulz says:

Id say your comment is the idiotic one. THE IOS APP IS GOOGLE NOW !

diskoman69 says:

Actually, no it is not. Google Now has the cards and personalized search (ie: searches before you even ask for it). The iOS app is just the same updated Google Search with voice assistant that is even available for Gingerbread phones. SMH

jackkelly96 says:

The way I see it, Google doesn't have to put Google Now older devices because most of Google's devices (excluding devices older than the Nexus One I believe) are updated to the latest version. Basically, its up to the manufacturers and carriers to push out the updates so people can use Google Now. On the other hand, Google's business is providing search so there is a case for providing Google Now on more devices.

brendilon says:

Google's business IS search. If they could get Google Now on more devices, they would. Carriers/manufacturers are responsible for OS update timelines, not Google. FFS.

jlschulz says:

Thanks google, you just gave me the first of apparently manynreasoms to move to apple. You give them search comperable wih the jelly bean which is on ...what.... 1% of android phones, and said basically hell with the other 99% of android. Guess if I want that nexus experience i just have to buy apple. You are becoming more lile apple every day ajyhow with your new line nexusntelling us we dont need lte, or sd cards or memory. Yep, might as well go to apple now before they grab even more money for their stuff.

carraser891 says:

how can people say the iOS app isnt Google Now? He just did a comparison between the two for Christ sake and they came up with the same results. Google gave Google Now to iOS users before they gave it to their own users...end of story.

diskoman69 says:

Can you read? Obviously NOT. Do you use Google Search? Obviously not. He covered this in the VERY FIRST SENTENCE OF THE ARTICLE!

"Google today let loose a new version of its Search app for iOS devices. Is it as good as the voice search you find in Android and Google Now?"

The app on iOS is a new version of GOOGLE SEARCH. He COMPARED it to the Google Now app on Android. The iOS app is functionally equivalent to the new Google Search app that is available for even Gingerbread devices. The LOOK of the app is consistent with the design language for Google Now, but has NONE of the features of it (cards, predictive search, location tracking, etc.) Obviously you don't even use the Google Search app, or you would know this.

ReyCalda1 says:

Well, even if iOS app has all the functionality i guess we still need something that has hassle free features. Something that’s eyes-free and hands-free and safe for the road. There’s a smartphone app called Talkler —billed as “email for your ears.” It's a free smartphone app that's voice-controlled, and reads your emails aloud to you.