Google Now is one of the most talked about features of the latest Android Jelly Bean. It’s Google’s intelligent personal assistant service that’s able to anticipate what you need, just when you need it. It also uses natural language technology to answer questions and perform actions you ask it.
Launching Google Now
Before we get into the way Google Now works, let’s see how to activate it on the Nexus 7. Just hold the Back or Home button at the bottom of the screen, and a circle with the word Google inside it will appear. Slide your finger towards it, like I did below, and you’re in.
Verify you want to use the service, and you’ll be taken to its main page.
What Google Now Provides
It’s populated by so-called Cards, and these cards appear depending on location, what you search for on Google, and even Gmail messages received. For example, the service has realized that I support Chelsea (sports teams can be changed in the settings menu, too), and now shows me my team’s latest score. Once I get near a public transport station, I’ll get a card about the next buses coming, and always the latest local weather.
Once a new card pops up, you’ll get a notification. Like this one, for example, telling me that Chelsea will be playing tomorrow.
It will notify you about meetings and even about flights you’ll be boarding (provided you got the ticket in your Gmail inbox). When you’re close to a local landmark, you’ll get the chance to check in or you’ll be told about the groovy photo spots around.
It requires your tablet’s localization services to be enabled. It can even calculate how long your commute will take, depending on available traffic information.
It also allows you to make search queries in easier. Just tap the search box at the top of the Google Now page, or you can just say the word Google and tell it what to search for. The voice recognition is pretty good too.
Google Now Settings
You can tell Google Now what you want it to get its nose into. Just go to the Settings menu, using the bottom right side menu button.
There, you can access four types of settings — Voice, Google Now, Tablet search, and Privacy & accounts. The latter allows you to set the way the service works with searches and other privacy related options. Tablet search lets you set where Google Now can search – for example People or the music on your Google Music account.
The most important settings, though, are the ones in the Google Now category. They allow you to decide which cards are shown, their priority, as well as to tweak the way each one behaves.
Google Now can be be quite useful, if you’re not too scared of letting Google know where you are, what you search for, and where you go. It’s almost creepy in a sense, as it can predict where you’re going and what info you’ll need. But it’s seriously cool and helpful.
Have you used Google Now? Leave a comment and let us know what you think of it!