Google Now gets smarter for real-world scenarios

New features on mobile make Google Now more useful

Google Now's mobile software will tell you where it thinks you parked your car.

Google Now's mobile software will tell you where it thinks you parked your car.

Whether you've lost your car or lost your Internet connection, Google Now is getting a little more helpful.

Google Now is an app for mobile devices that acts like a personal assistant, looking at things like your location, calendar and email to remind you that you have a lunch date, for instance -- and what time you should leave to get there.

The search giant is dipping its hands deeper into its trove of user data, trying to make Google Now more useful with a few new features.

An update Monday will tell you when products you were shopping for online are available nearby in the real world. Search for a particular blender, for instance, and Google Now will notify you when you walk past a Williams-Sonoma store that carries it.

Google Now provides its alerts with "cards," and Google wants them to work even when you're offline. With another update, Google said those cards will stay loaded on the device when you lose cellular service, instead of disappearing. In online comments, users generally applauded the enhancement.

The service also wants to solve an annoying problem for the absentminded: forgetting where you parked your car. Google Now uses a smartphone's motion sensors to try to detect when someone leaves a moving vehicle, then keeps a record of it for later.

Google says you may see the parking location card even if you didn't park your car -- like after you got off a bus or were dropped off by a friend, for instance.

The new features are currently offered for Android only, and you have to update your Google Search app for them to work.

Kinks aside, the updates add up to a more useful Google Now. They're incremental changes but show the software increasing its awareness as a personal assistant, said Scott Strawn, an industry analyst with IDC.

Google's recent acquisition of DeepMind Technologies, an artificial intelligence company, could help Google deliver even more contextually aware information.

Some users might find that creepy, but "convenience can trump other issues," Strawn said.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Internet-based applications and servicese-commerceMobile OSesMusic and audioDeepMindmobilesocial mediainternetsearch enginesmobile applicationsAndroid OSGoogle

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Zach Miners

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?