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At first glance it may seem that Apple and Google are inharmonious – at least some hardcore fans would have you think that. The truth is, many Apple users rely on Google’s products for email, storage and search. Many have installed the Google Search app on their iPad or iPhone and may use it on a regular basis. The app has recently been updated with an awesome new feature called Google Now.
Here’s a brief overview of Google Now, and how to install and use it.
Ok, so, what exactly is Google Now?
Google Now is best thought of as Google’s answer to Apple’s Siri. It’s an app that functions like a personal assistant and has become a large component of Google’s Search for mobile app. The idea of Now is that you can use natural language to search for answers to questions, find recommendations or even perform actions like creating a calendar entry, or writing an email.
Google Now also passively delivers information that it thinks is useful to you. While creepy at first, especially when you see how accurate predictions can be, it is actually a really cool tool.
What’s interesting about Google Now is that relevant information is displayed below search results in what are called ‘cards’. The cards shown will depend on your location, recent searches, calendar and even method of transport.
Probably the best way to explain Google Now is through an example:
Say you have a meeting with a potential supplier at a coffee shop across town tomorrow. You pull up the Google Search app on your iPad, tap the microphone button and ask Google, “What’s the coffee shop on 5th Avenue?”. Google searches for the coffee shop and comes back with three search results including the shop you are looking for. You then enter the name and address in your Google Calendar, along with the date and time.
The next day, you look at the Google Search app again because you’ve forgotten the exact address. Just below the Search bar you will see that new cards have popped up. The first is a reminder of the scheduled event, along with the contact information of the person you are meeting. Just below that is a map on how to get to the coffee shop, along with driving directions.
When you get in the car, you notice that traffic seems a little heavier than usual, so you pull up Google Search and the card has been updated with a map showing current traffic along with what Google thinks will be the fastest route, without you having to ask.
This app works surprisingly well, and many users have noted that both search results and the cards are accurate. Where Google Now really shines is when you are traveling. If you go to another country, cards will pop up with the exchange rate, translator, local map with landmarks, time back home and even flight information (assuming the reservation has been sent to your Gmail account).
How to install and use
If this app sounds interesting, all you have to do to get it is download Google Search app from the Apple App Store, install it, open it and sign in using your Google account. Cards will start to popup after a couple of days. You can tweak what cards appear by using the search feature, or through the app’s settings.
While this is a Google product, it can be useful for your Apple device, especially if you have a Google account. If you would like to learn more about this app or how the iPad can make your business easier, contact us today to see how we can help.
Published on 22nd May 2013 by Jeanne DeWitt.