April 29, 2013 at 10:29 AM ET
Google Now is a smart assistant with a crystal ball. It'll warn you when traffic's bad so that you can leave for work early, remind you of upcoming birthdays, provide updates on news you're interested in, among other things. And now it's finally coming to iOS.
Google Now was first introduced as part of Android 4.1 — better known as Jelly Bean — during last year's Google I/O developer's conference. This means that it took nearly a year for the service to become available to iPhone and iPad users. During Google's Big Tent summit in mid-March, Google's executive chairman Eric Schmidt hinted that Apple's App Store approval process was to blame for the delay.
But no matter. It's here now, as part of the updated Google Search app. It'll show you relevant information throughout the day, in the form of "cards" containing weather alerts, traffic warnings, news updates, restaurant reservations, birthday reminders, package shipping notices, stock alerts, public transit details, and more.
Since Google Now is part of the Google Search app, you've also got Google's voice search capabilities baked right in. Instead of relying on Siri, you can ask this tool about whether you need an umbrella this afternoon or who the cast members of "Game of Thrones" are. Heck, you can even ask it to show you photos of cute kittens, if that floats your boat.
Unlike its Android counterpart, the iOS version of Google Now won't show you boarding passes, nearby event information, or Fandango-related features. The lack of boarding passes is rather strange — particularly since that's an incredibly helpful piece of information to have available in a rush — but we suspect that the feature is missing thanks to the partnerships Apple forged while building its Passbook app.
"[T]he more you use Google Now, the more you get out of it," software engineer Andrea Huey emphasizes in a blog post. Google Now learns from you and your habits, in other words. "Our goal is to get you the right information, at just the right time," Google CEO Larry Page explained during the company's earning's call on April 18.
Well, thanks, Larry — just be careful that you don't go overboard. I'll run away screaming if my phone ever shows me directions to the nearest candy store because it noticed that I seem to be grumpy and craving chocolate.
You should be able to download the updated Google Search for iOS app — complete with Google Now and all — from the Apple App Store later on Monday.
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