Google Now has been around for a while on Android, and many have weighed it up against its biggest rival Siri, developed by Apple. Both companies have similar visions of how a personal mobile butler will help you, but Google has the services to help them win the race.
Impressively, in the short time, Google Now has been around it has attracted a lot of attention from users, even though it is still a service that could use more refining and work to make it really personal.
What is Google Now?
Google Now is a personal mobile butler, designed around Google’s many different services. The idea is to give the user “right information at just the right time” and to make your mobile and your life more connected.
This essentially bundles all the information a user may have on their phone, from services like Calendar, Groups, Talk, Gmail, Drive to user messages and other places where one might keep dates or receipts.
It then displays and helps the user with the information available, for example, if the user has a receipt for a plane ticket it will notify when the day comes and indoor maps may give directions to the right gate, depending on the airport.
Google Now works with the user to offer a lot of simplistic changes, which may make a difference. One feature Google Now works on is routes, and as it starts understanding the route a user takes to work or to school it will offer alternative ways to travel and different routes away from traffic jams.
With NFC and syncing with accounts, Google Now’s possibilities are growing. The user is able to use maps to get to the airport, then find the gate, then get past the boarding gate with their smartphone. This currently only works with a few airlines.
It would be nice to see Google start working with other companies on Now, Facebook, Twitter and other calendar and note taking apps could come in useful.
Google Glass integration
Google Glass and Google Now present some really intriguing ways to personalize your life. With Glass developed to remove the barrier mobile phones have with the user, it could be the most effective tool for remembering appointments and keeping on track.
In a recent video uploaded by Google, it shows Glass users with Google Maps, getting directions without having to look away to a mobile phone. There is also a clip of someone skiing, and Google Glass gives the user directions around the track.
The video also showed how the cards system will be implemented into the Glass user interface the same way it is with Google Now. Instead of having a home screen, the user will have cards displaying weather, time and other information. It will display cards from friends when they get a message, call or email.
Integrating Google services
Google has built up a collection of services and many are the top in their market, including search, email, browser, mobile OS, maps and video sharing.
This large and contrasting collection of services all come together with Google Now, and this is only the beginning for integration. As Google Now gets clever and services become tagged with one another, we will see how far the personalization goes.
However, Google has a tendency to scrap a lot of projects that are not doing very well financially, this includes the loved RSS reader Google Reader. This could be disastrous for people depend on Google Now and use it for meetings, reminders and general information, to then see it scrapped.
The future of personalisation
In 1995, the eb was developed, a system of hypertext documents that was free to use, provided you had an internet connection. This idea exploded and many hackers, coders, and developers started making websites. This was ‘web 1.0’, if you will.
Then came Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, YouTube and all the social connections, this was adequately named ‘web 2.0’ because it made static websites become almost irrelevant as an interaction between websites and users became more integrated and real.
Now we have a big move to mobile, with over one billion people owning a smartphone. Developers now code for mobiles and many companies perk the phrase “mobile first”. This isn’t ‘web 3.0’, even if the web is a core backbone of the mobile revolution.
As we start to understand applications, users and computing more, artificial intelligence and personalization go deeper. We have already seen this with Facebook, and how addictive real friends on a system can be, instead of fake avatars.
The future holds millions of different possibilities, and Google sees personalisation between Google and the user as an intriguing and excellent approach. You can see this with their moonshot products, the self-driving car, Google Glass and WiFi chips to tell the person when they are sick.
It all seems to push away responsibility, to make the user sit back and allow the computers to take control. Google Now is just the start of Google’s move to make your life with the company more personal. Find out everything Google Now does at their website.