Google Now: Introducing Android’s Virtual Personal Search Assistant

Yes, Apple got there first with Siri in the iPhone 4S. Now, Android users finally have something to gloat about – and it’s designed to be more powerful than Apple’s counterpart. Until Apple catches up with it, Google Now is the newly introduced personalized search application built for the latest Android version, the Jelly Bean. Announced during the developers conference held in June, Now has been created by Google and is powered by the Knowledge Graph. Read on to find out more about just how helpful Now can be for you.

Google Now works by analyzing your search patterns, your current location, and other similar data about you to return what it considers would be relevant information that you might require at that particular time and place. So it can be anything from interesting dining options in your present location, to current scores of a match you are following, or even the expected amount of travel time it would take for you to reach home from your current location. With the intent to provide you “just the right information at just the right time”, Google Now observes your patterns and comes to conclusions, for instance, it figures out for itself where “home” for you is, based on the location where you spend the maximum amount of time, or tells you how soon you can expect the next bus when you are at a bus stop.

Voice searches become easier with Google Now as it transcribes into text whatever you say to it and then looks it up to give you the best possible results for your search queries. Speak to Now and it provides you answers in proper tile format from Google’s Knowledge Graph, which is a far more organized manner of presentation.

Google Now is a far more comprehensive search assistant than you could ever imagine, for it pulls in from all your Google services, including your calendar and even a few third-party products, with your permission. So the next time you are on your way to the airport to catch a flight, a simple search for flights on Google will have Google Now display your flight’s latest schedule – it’s just that intuitive!

Some users may tend to feel that Google Now is a little too intrusive. Especially when it throws up information related to something you may have search for weeks ago, and combs through your search history to sort of profile you. Also, it guesses your needs and finds you answers even before you ask it questions, e.g. if you are in a new country, Now will tell you the latest currency exchange rates, whether or not you are looking for this information.

Although Google Now is officially available only for Android’s Jelly Bean version, even users of ICS can get Now on their devices with the help of XDA Developers. However, don’t try this with your device if you are not too confident with handling the development aspect of Android’s OS.

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