collapse

Author Topic: Android 4.1 Feature Spotlight: What Is 'Google Now'?  (Read 4346 times)

Offline Babyfacemagee

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1260
  • Popularity: 42
    • View Profile
Android 4.1 Feature Spotlight: What Is 'Google Now'?
« on: July 07, 2012, 03:07:36 PM »

One of the many new highlighted features of the Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) operating system that was introduced at Google I/O a couple of weeks ago and that comes pre-installed on your Nexus 7 tablet is 'Google Now'.   Since its introduction there seems to be a bit of confusion as to exactly what 'Google Now' is...with some well-known tech publications (BusinessInsider/Slashgear..cough..cough) actually getting it wrong and confusing 'Google Now' with the voice activated 'assistant'.  It's actually a bit understandable why some might be unclear what 'Google Now' is because at first glance it actually sounds a tad confusing but I'm here to shed a little light and 'clarity' on the issue. 

Ok, so what exactly is 'Google Now'?   'Google Now' is in essence a 'predictive' technology that uses contextual information such as current location, location history, web history, calendar and appointment information, and more to bring you information on your device that could be valuable or useful to you 'automatically'.   By automatically I mean that you, the user, doesn't actually have to do a search, either through text or voice to get the information.   Your device, in this case the Nexus 7, once Google Now is activated, will be noting what you typically do each day...such as what appointments you have, what modes of travel you use, what things you do and where and at what time you do them.   It even will note things such as what sports scores you look up so that it can 'automatically' have the scores available for you when the next game is played...all without you even asking.

This video might make things a bit clearer and I'll go into some specific examples after you view it:

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/pPqliPzHYyc" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/pPqliPzHYyc</a>

Now 'Google Now' is in essence a form of 'artificial intelligence' technology and more to the point is kind of like an always on assistant that notes what your usual patterns and interests and activities are each day and creates a predictive model of your behavior.  So the more and the longer that you use it...the better it gets.   If you have certain types of restaurants or foods you like it will potentially tell you...around mealtime...what options are close by that you might be interested in.   'Google Now' can also know when you leave for work in the morning and if you're running late...it can warn you and give you a message to get going.   

Now Google's engineers have put each separate capability on what it calls 'cards'.  With this initial launch they're starting with 10 'cards'...but more are promised.  The initial 10 are:

Quote
Traffic
Get traffic conditions and alternate routes before you leave for work. Google Now also puts traffic to your next likely destination at your fingertips.

Public transit
When you’re near a bus stop or a subway station, Google Now tells you what buses or trains are next.

Next appointment
When you have an appointment, Google Now checks traffic so you can know how long it'll take to get there. You even get a notification for when you should leave.

Flights
Google Now keeps you up to date on flight delays and traffic conditions to the airport for flights you've recently searched for.

Sports
Google Now keeps you updated on your favorite sports teams in real time, with live scores and upcoming games. You can even can buy game tickets on the fly.

Places
When you’re on the go, Google Now will suggest nearby bars, restaurants, and places of interest. You can quickly jump to Google Maps to get more info, reviews, or even make a reservation.

Weather
When you start your day, Google Now shows weather for your current location and work.

Translation
Google Now helps you find just the right word when you're away from home.

Currency
Use Google Now to quickly check the local conversion rate when you're traveling.

Time at home
When you're in a different time zone, Google Now shows you the time at home so you never feel too far away.




Now it's a bit unclear how far Google's engineers are going to go with this technology but let's look at some of the almost infinite possibilities for a minute.

*Let's say you have your spouse's birthday coming up and you've noted it in your calendar.   'Google Now' could remind you to buy her/him a present.   
*If you have a meeting scheduled for early the next morning and it's 1am and your walking around Manhattan, 'Google Now' could conceivably 'remind' you that you might want to get some shuteye to be fresh for that next morning's meeting. 
*As they mention in the video, 'Google Now' can notify you about sports scores but imagine if you could set it up to notify you when a stock reached a certain buy or sell price or when a new piece of electronics you've been waiting for has gone on sale at an eStore or even when that girl you had a crush on changes her status to 'single' on Facebook.   

In other words while 'Google Now' is a new product and is limited to some useful travel and basic daily appt and location uses for now, in time this could really be an amazing 'always there' personal assistant type technology.   It could easily be combined with Google's voice 'Assistant' to bring a 'Siri' (Apple's personal assistant) on steroids type of experience that would be far more powerful because it wouldn't rely on you asking anything.  It just would know your life, interests and plans so well it would always be on top of things before you even had a chance to ask.  Depending on which 'cards' they decide to add in the future you could build a customized experience that would enable...and encourage your own specific goals.  It could conceivably be almost a combination assistant/life coach.  The fact that the Nexus 7 is the first device to get this amazing new technology is a big part of why I'm so excited to receive mine.  It should be a lot of fun playing around with the potential of 'Google Now' and I expect we'll have lots of discussions about it in the forum.

So what do you think about 'Google Now'?   Cool or creepy?  What potential uses do you see for using this 'predictive' technology?


Google Now
« Last Edit: July 07, 2012, 06:05:19 PM by Babyfacemagee »


If you like our community please spread the word and help us grow by providing a link from your site to Nexus7Forum.com

Offline halibaitor

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 55
  • Popularity: -3
    • View Profile
Re: Nexus 7 Tablet Feature Spotlight: What Is 'Google Now'?
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2012, 03:22:16 PM »
Interesting concept.  I think it could be quite useful, but it scares me a bit too.  Having a device that seems to be able to read your mind is kinda creepy.  I could get used to it I suppose.

My biggest fear would be that this feature could be reporting my "habits" back to Google and they would use the information for their own purposes, or selling it to someone else, instead of helping me with it.

Offline Granvillen

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 4
  • Popularity: 0
    • View Profile
Re: Nexus 7 Tablet Feature Spotlight: What Is 'Google Now'?
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2012, 03:35:11 PM »
Google Now must be primarily for the phone.  I don't see it working on the Nexus 7 since it is wifi only, or am I missing something?

Offline Babyfacemagee

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1260
  • Popularity: 42
    • View Profile
Re: Nexus 7 Tablet Feature Spotlight: What Is 'Google Now'?
« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2012, 03:44:21 PM »
As far as I know it's a standard part of Android 4.1/Jelly Bean.   It's the kind of service that will work on all our Google devices and will make use of what features are available at the time.  So on the Nexus 7 it would only use location based information or information it is pulling from the cloud/search when connected to Wi-Fi. 

 - On further research it appears that the Nexus 7 GPS works even when not connected to Wi-Fi.   Maps can be downloaded to the device so it can be used when offline.  Thus, many of the location based features of 'Google Now' should work even when offline but when connected to Wi-Fi say at a Starbucks or public Wi-Fi area then full access to all of the local information becomes available.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2012, 03:53:43 PM by Babyfacemagee »
If you like our community please spread the word and help us grow by providing a link from your site to Nexus7Forum.com

Offline Granvillen

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 4
  • Popularity: 0
    • View Profile
Re: Android 4.1 Feature Spotlight: What Is 'Google Now'?
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2012, 06:28:28 PM »
Thanks, i appreciate the info.  Now I understand a bit more.  Will definitely check this out come whatever date the unit arrives. ;D

Offline LanceJ

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 24
  • Popularity: 4
    • View Profile
Android 4.1 Feature Spotlight: What Is 'Google Now'?
« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2012, 10:55:52 AM »
Google Now must be primarily for the phone.  I don't see it working on the Nexus 7 since it is wifi only, or am I missing something?

Or if you keep it tethered to your phone...

Offline Drew

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 176
  • Popularity: 11
  • Transformer Prime, iphone 4, Nexus 7
    • View Profile
Re: Android 4.1 Feature Spotlight: What Is 'Google Now'?
« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2012, 02:48:19 PM »
This is a little sci-fi, but not impossible.  Two things:

Does it give you info at certain times or do you have to ask it and how does it give it to you (text/voice alert)

How does the GPS/wifi know what type of transportation you're using when giving a commute time?
"Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live." - Oscar Wilde

Offline edhunter

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 36
  • Popularity: 2
    • View Profile
Re: Android 4.1 Feature Spotlight: What Is 'Google Now'?
« Reply #7 on: July 08, 2012, 03:14:56 PM »
How will using this affect the battery life as I would assume that gps would need to be on to get the benefits from this?

Offline S.Prime

  • PM if You have a Forum Issue
  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2017
  • Popularity: 80
  • Galaxy S3-TPT-HTC Flyer-Nexus 7 & 10-Rooted 100%
    • View Profile
Re: Android 4.1 Feature Spotlight: What Is 'Google Now'?
« Reply #8 on: July 08, 2012, 03:33:43 PM »
Drew and edhunter have raised interesting questions. My HTC Flyer and ThinkPad Tablet, which are both WiFi only, can give you location by WiFi, but severely lack in the ability to give you a GPS lock (actually finding one orbiting the Earth). It will be interesting to see if the GPS in the Nexus 7 actually works and then can we turn it off to extend battery life.
IT Service Professional - I just want a device to be productive.

Offline halibaitor

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 55
  • Popularity: -3
    • View Profile
Re: Android 4.1 Feature Spotlight: What Is 'Google Now'?
« Reply #9 on: July 08, 2012, 04:12:16 PM »
How does the GPS/wifi know what type of transportation you're using when giving a commute time?

The GPS doesn't care what mode of transportation you are using.  It calculates the commute time by how fast you are going, and how far it is to your destination.  The math for that is really simple when compared to what it takes to figure out where you are from the satellite data.

Offline Drew

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 176
  • Popularity: 11
  • Transformer Prime, iphone 4, Nexus 7
    • View Profile
Re: Android 4.1 Feature Spotlight: What Is 'Google Now'?
« Reply #10 on: July 08, 2012, 05:13:21 PM »
So it would know if I was on a train or subway and what schedule to give me each day?  That would be great!
"Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live." - Oscar Wilde

Offline halibaitor

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 55
  • Popularity: -3
    • View Profile
Re: Android 4.1 Feature Spotlight: What Is 'Google Now'?
« Reply #11 on: July 08, 2012, 05:30:50 PM »
It will know what train/subway you are using when you ask for the schedule information for that route a couple of days in a row. 

That is a separate function from the GPS information.  You have to be really careful how you ask the questions about this, because 2 different functions are in play here.  The GPS part only knows where you are, and how fast you are going.  (I hope I explained it clearly.)
« Last Edit: July 08, 2012, 05:34:30 PM by halibaitor »

Offline Drew

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 176
  • Popularity: 11
  • Transformer Prime, iphone 4, Nexus 7
    • View Profile
Re: Android 4.1 Feature Spotlight: What Is 'Google Now'?
« Reply #12 on: July 08, 2012, 05:40:09 PM »
You did and that makes sense, GPS is one card, public transport another (like the article says, sorry).   ::)

This is going to require a lot of cards.  I wonder if adding those will be part of an update or are they hardware?

Can't wait to try it out!  Thanks halibaitor!
"Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live." - Oscar Wilde

Offline halibaitor

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 55
  • Popularity: -3
    • View Profile
Re: Android 4.1 Feature Spotlight: What Is 'Google Now'?
« Reply #13 on: July 08, 2012, 05:55:12 PM »
I'm thinking that the GPS is hardware only, but the schedules are on a card, and should be added in an update.

I'm all eager to get this too.  The anticipation is just killing me...   ;D

Offline kalel8145

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 1
  • Popularity: 0
    • View Profile
Re: Android 4.1 Feature Spotlight: What Is 'Google Now'?
« Reply #14 on: July 26, 2012, 06:34:59 AM »
Hey everyone. New here and just got my Nexus 7. I hope this info will help everyone. I was playing around with maps and found a feature that lets you select an area on the map. It downloads it and makes it available offline. So if GPS works all the time, maybe this is how now will still let you navigate, at least within the area you have selected to make offline. It seemed like there was a limit of around 70mb that could be downloaded. Thanks!!

 


* Top Boards

* 'Like' And 'Follow' Us!

* Top Posters

bjs229 bjs229
2682 Posts
JayJ JayJ
2100 Posts
S.Prime S.Prime
2017 Posts
Babyfacemagee Babyfacemagee
1260 Posts
matt matt
936 Posts
birdastrompgman birdastrompgman
840 Posts
loociddreemr loociddreemr
708 Posts