I grew up in the 80’s and 90’s and remember watching Zack Morris of Saved By The Bell with his giant cell phone. I always thought how cool it was to be able to be talking anywhere and whenever I wanted. I remember when car phones were a luxury item to have and how expensive they were. It was cool, but I couldn’t ever use one because I was always told it was way too expensive. Today, cell phones are like fingernails. They’re extensions of ourselves and carry around our entire life.
Google has evolved beyond just a search engine. They are a powerhouse. With the Android phones they’ve created the Android OS to be our personal day planners with the incorporation of Google Now. What Google Now does is set up “cards” for you for things such as home, work, favorite sports teams, set up your TV provider and ondemand services, text or call completely by voice, ask Google to search, set up reminders, calendar events, etc. I never thought much of it until recently when I started to set things up in my Samsung Galaxy S3. I did my first phone call and sent various texts to my wife all through voice commands only!
Google Now will also provide information such as whether your flight is running late, remind you to do something downtown once you actually get downtown (not just at a time, but via location), tell you when new products comes out (such as a musician releasing a new album), list upcoming nearby events, tell you about tickets for movies/concerts you’re interested in, and more (Kahn, 2013)!
(Image courtesy of koozai.com)
Another really cool feature of Google Now is that it looks up transit information automatically based on where you are and your primary mode of transportation. This information is available before you even open the app! For instance, before I leave the house I can check Google Now and it will tell me how long it’ll take me to get from home to school at the water tower campus via public transit just by knowing where I am. It will also tell me the weather of both places so I can plan appropriately. Essentially, this sounds what iOS users think of when they use Siri. The difference is that Siri only does what you ask, but Google Now provides the cards with useful information about things you may be interested in (maybe even before you think you need to know it), in addition to doing everything by voice and doesn’t talk back like Siri does.
(Image courtesy of electricpig.co.uk)
I’m not too familiar with Siri since I’m more a Linux/Windows user, but Google Now will customize cards and various suggestions to you as it learns from you. I don’t remember Siri doing this. According to Tech Splurge, Siri is a voice assistant whereas Google Now is a personalized search application (Saket). One can think of Siri as an incredibly knowledgeable friend whereas Google Now is the Oracle at Delphi which can tell you the future and possibly see into your soul. Both have their uses and their drawbacks. Both are extremely useful for us “tech nerds” in managing our day to day lives. Maybe I should tell Google Now to remind me about when my blogs are due for Professor Yoo’s class!
Do you use Siri or Google Now? What is your experience?
Kahn, J. (2013, November 05). [Web log message]. Retrieved from http://9to5mac.com/2013/11/05/google-search-ios-app-gets-massive-update-w-notifications-reminders-new-cards-handsfree-voice-search-much-more/