I admit it! I am a Googler. I love everything Google. Love it or hate it, Google has become a household name, mostly due to its high quality and widely used internet search engine. This popularity and reputation for reliability makes it easier for the company to offer new services such as Google Now and I have to tell you, I already love it.
Today at its annual developers conference, Google senior vice president Amit Singhal said “its end of search as we know it.” and Google’s search engine, in the future, will “answer, converse and anticipate” what we need. Much of this technology is based on the integration of Google Now.
The magic of Google Now and the heart of this service is the “predictive” search assistant that works on my behalf and anticipates my every need, sometimes even before I know I need it. The key word here, after all, is “assistant” and this amazing assistant uses multiple sources of data to help build a collection of preferences just for me. Google knows me, it knows my friends (Gmail) it knows my every step (GPS) it knows who I see (Google Calendar) and what I read (Google Search) and it pulls all this data together to help me in a most ingenious way. I LOVE it!
I am also excited to know that the new Google Glasses will use Google Now Cards. From what I understand, they will be viewable in the “Timeline” and you will be able to swipe the Google Glass touchpad for flight, traffic and other information. How cool is that?
The “Now” in Google
Many people already have a Google account of some sort. For example, millions have a Gmail account or may use the Google calendar and these are just some of the services from which Google Now can collect data. The special part of Google Now — the part that puts the “now” in Google Now — is the collection of information from my location services, reporting, my history and other web services or sites that I currently log into. In other words, Google Now tracks my location, my search history and sites I am currently browsing to anticipate what I may need next.
The “Creepy” In Google
In most cases, this predictive search magic is extremely effective and I find it very helpful. After all, who would not want an assistant that anticipates (or at least attempts to anticipate) their every need? The problem that some people may have is how Google goes about collecting the data they need to do this. The term “tracking” in relation to online searches and their personal search history can frighten many users, some may even say it’s creepy, or at the very least it may make many people uneasy. Regardless, I find the service so useful that I overlook this concern.
The Google in Apple
Initially, this service was only available to us Android users. As you know, Apple, for many years, has been the smartphone (and tablet) champion. This meant that millions of iPhone users were missing out on the Google Now Service simply because it was not available to them. But recently, Google Now has been introduced to the Apple iOS and Apple users are now able to use this service by downloading the app from the app store. On Android, Google Now is a standalone app, but on iOS, Google includes the service in its Google Search app. You can download the latest version of Google Search from the App Store and then launch the app.
The Time Saver
One of the most popular features of Google Now is the amount of time it saves me. When I’m traveling it already knows my itinerary, time to the airport, the traffic situation and it even tells me when to leave the house or office based on its predictive magic. It alerts me about flights, delays or highway accidents that are relevant to my destinations. Also, when I arrive at a new city, it can give me relevant information about things I may like to do, such as concerts and local attractions. It also keeps me up to date with news and vital information while I am on the go. Because of my community involvement I am on the road quite a bit, so this tool keeps me right on track and on time. I’ll say it again; this is the best assistant I ever had.
The Google Tradeoff
Like myself, most people may believe the tradeoff of privacy and data collection is worth it simply due to how well this wonderful magical assistant works. I like the Google Now service because it is not overbearing; it simply runs quietly in the background until I need it. Just like a good assistant should.
Google Now gives me the information I need at just the right time, all throughout the day. Google Now Cards pop up to remind me of birthdays, help me decide what to wear based on the weather, and remind me of my next meeting, dinner or other important events. All of this makes it easy for me to stay on top of what’s happening in my life every day, including what I need to do and where I need to go. Thanks Google for another amazing product!
The Missing Google Cards
While Google Now is off to a good start with what they have today, here are some additional Google Now Cards I’d like to see:
- Where are my kids card – This can be done using Google’s latitude and updated hourly or when they travel over 2 miles from a previous location.
- How many steps did I take today card – Uses Google’s GPS feature and connects me to activity trackers like FitBit.
- Deal of The Day – This can include coupons or sales based on your location.
- Hot Spot – This one should be easy but I’d love to find a hot spot when I need one.
- New Music Card – Tell me when a band I have in Google Play releases a new album or announces a new concert date in my city.
- New Book Card – Tell me when an author I like releases a new book
- Lunch Specials – Tell me what my favorite restaurants are serving for their lunch special today, so I know where to go.
OK your turn; what would you like Google Now Cards to predict for you? Be creative, share your ideas and let’s make Google Now Cards even better. All suggestions will be turned over to Google for consideration.