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.