Google Now

Let's just throw this out there. Google Now is pretty awesome. A little scary, maybe, which we talked about a bit in last night's Google I/O podcast, but awesome nonetheless. The ability to predict what it is you want to see in the form of widgets is some high-tech schtuff.

Right now it's just an app within Jelly Bean.

But what if it weren't. What if Google Now was your homescreen, giving you all that information you currently have to build manually with widgets and app icons, based of your search history. A scary proposition, but an intriguing one, too.

We'll talk more about this in the coming weeks, for sure. 

There are 59 comments

crxssi says:

If Google Now were forced to be my home screen, I would be looking for a different mobile OS or some type of sanity hack. I certainly hope you mean if there were an *option* to make it a home screen!

Google can be seriously creepy with this stuff sometimes.

i agree, i hope they put in the option to turn of this function. apple and android seem to be putting more and more things i really don't need or want, with my evo i have the option and control of my phone, if they don't then i guess ill be rooting my phone.

tjhrulz says:

They do have an option to turn it off, it is off till you open it and hit accept.

Personally I could not see it being a replacement for my home screen but rather a full screen live widget.

DroidDavi says:

I like the fact that its integrated into the OS. These are all things that we had before from 3rd party apps but binging them all into 1 and having it mold into your life is great. I flashed it n my Gnex as soon as i heard and its fantastic so far

crxssi says:

It might be great as an option. It will not be great at all if forced on us.

You can turn off or opt out of any cards that you don't wish to use/have displayed. As much as google keeps increasing the amount of data that they collect, they're getting better and better with people being able to opt out/pack up everything and leave google. The understand that many people want these features and are willing to part with personal data to obtain it, others that don't want to make that trade can simply live without the feature. It's a win-win for everybody that way I think.

dlochinski says:

Agreed, I like the option to opt out, but I don't care what personal information they collect on me. I mean, what are they going to do with it besides tailor content and ads to my interests?

mattyb1085 says:

As long as it can be toggled on and off I don't see any problem with it. If you hate it turn it off. They already have all your data anyways, so why not let them use it to make your life easier.

TenshiNo says:

Right. It doesn't sound like they're gathering any additional data. They're just using the data they've already collected to display the info they think you'll be most likely to want to know.

And remember, folks, there's a *huge* difference between someone (as in a person) looking at your personal data and *something* (such as a computer algorithm) analyzing that data and deciding that you'd be interested in knowing the score from the game last night.

It's always up to you what you are comfortable sharing, but it's never as bad as most people make it out to be.

haberd says:

Sounds a bit WinMo8esque, no?

Glenuendo says:

I use the iGoogle as the home screen. I love what it offers me.

almahix says:


danfinger says:

I'd like to figure out how to do that ... is it a widget?

jomcty says:

I wouldn't mind dedicating a screen to it, my choice of which screen of course.

3rdpig says:

I'd give it a shot tomorrow if it were available. But of course I'm still waiting for the official ICS for my Bionic, so I guess I won't be seeing Google Now for a while.

Hey Google, now that you own Motorola why don't you get our bootloaders unlocked so we can do all this neat stuff without having to wait for Verizon? I mean it's not like Moto didn't promise it a year ago.

Davest says:

I put JB on my GNex's unbelievable! I've always been slightly envious of how smooth the scrolling and transitions are on iOS - now, they're just as smooth on Android. And Google Now works great!

I agree with the consensus here - it would be great to have the option of using Google Now as the home screen, or having a full-screen widget. I don't think Google will force it on us, though...that would go against the whole Android mindset.

jramone says:

If it's based on your search history that would suck! Who wants porn as a home screen?!?!

crxssi says:


tx_tuff says:

It's called incognito window!

curley says:

+1 that is exactly what I was thinking!

Hand_O_Death says:

This too, was also the first thought on my mind.

mmark27 says:

no flash in 4.1 is going to limit that......

vansmack says:

Wait. Who doesn't want porn as a home screen?

diskoman69 says:


Linebarrel86 says:

I don't get why everyone thinks this kind of thing is creepy.

The second you begin creating email accounts and using the Internet in general you've opened yourself up to being tracked, followed and bombarded by ads.

At least Google is relatively upfront about these things. I don't mind as long as its helpful., and with what's being said around the web, Google Now is really great.

Davest says:


On another topic, why don't they enable Like and Dislike on these comments?

As long as people have a choice I think this is great news - I think I heard about a similar project on kickstarter (which may well be part of Google's inspiration).
Slightly related: has anyone else noticed how Google maps navigation seems a bit "smarter" lately? I typically tend to leave really early in the morning for the airport when travelling interstate and the destination choice at the top of the list always seems to be the airport at that time of day. Similar for when I'm heading home in the afternoon/evening. I also like the fact that travel time updates based on actual travel time of other android users. Call me naive, but I like it when things are made to make things easy.

neb1989 says:

I wouldn't mind if Google Now was a widget itself that took up a page on my phone. If you want to open it just tap it like all other widgets. Also having an icon would be better. But that's far enough for me. Anything else and they would be forcing a product on me that I might not even use that much.

sulu600 says:

Guess I am lucky, don't have to worry about it. My HTC Amaze 4G was just updated to ICS 4.03 less than two months ago, so the chances of getting an upgrade to 4.1 before I have to upgrade is, ah, slim and none.

jbsyst says:

Does that come in black, inverted?

NOt sure what people seem so paranoid or upset about. It's something Google already does, collect all your information. Only now they're finding a creative way to actually help you with all that information. If I could wake up and my RSS feed and Twitter feed were already waiting for me, that would be great. THe whole purpose of AI technology is to anticipate the need of it's user to make their lives easier and smoother.

tedsc says:

There is a big difference to me between randomly collecting my information for search recommendations in my active search session like "other people that searched for XYZ also searched for ABC" and highly personalized responses that it offers without any human filter or without any respect for session. If someone wants to look something up on your phone, you have to try to remember if you cleared search history after you looked up "remedies for that nagging rash" or whatever the case may be. I want my phone to be my personal computing device but I do not want to have to worry about what I did with it before I share it with someone else. How many awkward moments has Google created? How many anniversary/birthday surprises have Google given away because people share their devices?

XavierMatt says:

It would be Windows Phone then . . . just smarter.

tokoli says:

It's not like my Droid RAZR is going to see Jelly Bean before the next OS release (Key Lime Pie?) next year.

one80oneday says:

Make it an adjustable widget...

projectxmatt says:

If it actually added some useful cards for me I'd like it on one of my home screens, but I've been using Jelly Bean heavily all day, searching among other things, and the only card I still have really is the weather...

Maddog088 says:

I've been using it since the 28th and today was the first day that I noticed that my house is now recognized! I stopped by my parents house, while I was there I looked at my phone and it told me the route I typically take home would take about 36 min with a bit of a delay. Thought that was pretty sweet! I knew exactly which way to go based off of the traffic info they gave me. Looking forward to see how this pans out the smarter it gets!!!

brown3h says:

If it were a home screen, it would seem very similar to Feel_UX

ads says:

could be a problem, if it aggregates all my searches and stuff and makes that my home screen, most of it would be naked women - at least after a weekend. Kinda hard to explain at work Monday, LOL!

bulvine420 says:

using this now on my Nexus its amazing along with the magazine app its not a widget you slide up on the lock screen and its there.

Raadius says:

"Right now it's just an app within Jelly Bean."

If that's the case, why hasn't it been ripped? XDA Devs, you're slackin lol

PJMAN2952 says:

I agree. It is not an app. Its built into Jellybean. Its not a standalone app like crappy S-Voice is. I still wish that somehow XDA Devs can ripp Google Now so we all can use it.

redbullcat says:

Agreed. I refuse to buy from eBay because most are profiting from that, but it isn't a rip off from CPW because the actual phone is worth the money, it's just Google sell it extraordinarily cheap.

CeluGeek says:

When Google Now becomes the homescreen of stock Android, a lot of people will grow love for Touchwiz, Timescape and ugh, Sense... any custom UI that makes all of Google's creepy stalking display optional.

frozencloud says:

Being only on Jelly Bean, should I be even hype about it? This is like the Android Chrome browser all over again.

PJMAN2952 says:

I like Google Now. It would be cool to have it as widget on the homescreen. Don't know why you guys think its a bad idea, but I like it. And like how CeluGeek said about custom ui. I hate custom UI. Why can't manufactures just leave it alone and have everyone the same android experience? Thats why I rooted my HTC One S and flashed CM9. I love the stock UI of ICS. So smooth and I love the black and blue color scheme.

aaCharley says:

I'm doing my best effort to avoid the Google services of all types. I've used Yahoo as a home screen for years and expect to continue with it. Since Google Shopping changed the policy to not list firearms or ammunition they have now adopted some of the China policies. I have very little trust in what Google will do with the tracked information. Bing is now the search engine. Screw Google and the gun grabber crowd.

Techdude845 says:

Will Google be making an app for Google Now to be available of Ice Cream Sandwich and Gingerbread or will it be the main attraction to get people to get Jellybean phones. I think they should make it for Gingerbread and Froyo, since they are the two most available and used versions of Android today.

please to god no i like my wallpapers i really dont want this

Exactly. That is the sole reason why I sent the Lumia 900 back. No ability to put a wallpaper on the phone.

It's just gonna be bullshit if we are forced to have less customization of the home scree/background. It's one of the great things about Android.

icu says:

I'm just sad that Google's design philosophy language has been WHITE! LOTS AND LOTS OF WHITE! Not only is this just a world-wide power drain I much prefer darker themes - I hope there's customizations/themes added to the Android services soon.

If Google NOW was my homescreen...... my battery life would be worse than it already is; Jesus, please no.

LCW says:

I think it's best if Google Now is tucked away. If you want to check it out, you go to it. I don't think it should be front and center.

Been using JB 4.1 for a day and a half now. Google Now is actually pretty cool. Amazingly predictive.

pulsarvp says:

So when machines take over, they will know where and when to get you:)

I never use the Google Search function. I always use Dolphin or Dragon Go; I also have Save Searches in Google set to No; so does that mean this app/widget/thing is completely useless to me?

Serious question.

Kinglo says:

You could use it to launch applications, call people, navigate to restaurant etc.,

I'd say it won't be my homescreen until 2013 when its finally available on my Verizon SG3.

masterpfa says:

Opened up quite a debate. I think it's a great idea.

Remember people Android is customisable so you will have a choice what your home screen will be or look like.

sassca129 says:

I want this.