Admit it – you’ve always wanted a personal assistant to help you choose what to wear, and tell you what time you need to leave the house and the best places to eat! Now, you can have that and much more.
Google spends its days and nights compiling all the data you could possibly want so it can feed it back to you at the moment you need it. That moment is always NOW, as in Google Now.
A Journey into the Google Now History
Google Now may not have the cute, likeable name like the digital assistants, Siri, Cortana or Alexa, but what it does have is incredible AI (artificial intelligence) and the power of the search engine giant and your browsing history right in your hand.
Google Now, originally introduced as part of the July 2012, Android Jellybean update, is their response to the rise of digital assistants, and is an application found inside Google Search. Google Now is available natively on Android devices and through an app on iOS. Unlike other digital assistants, it can also be accessed through Google Chrome on a desktop.
Read along and take peek into your future with Google Now, if you choose to take Google up on their offer to become your next assistant.
The Google Now Moment
Google Now presents itself as, “Just the right information, at just the right time.” It uses Google Cards functionality to present you with all kinds of useful information to get you going for the day. This includes everything from wardrobe choice, based on the forecast, to telling you what appointments you have on your calendar, and what time to leave based on traffic patterns from Google Maps, to answering the most random trivia questions you throw at it during your day.
This information is automatically stored on Cards and enables the AI to learn more about who you are and what you do. The sheer amount of access the search engine has to your data, if you have Google accounts, makes this highly intuitive.
Because of Google Now’s connection to Maps, it also provides consumers with location-based reminders. For example, when your phone’s GPS is on and you give it a command such as, “Remind me to buy a card for the party when I get near Store X,” your phone will send you a pop up to do just that.
Can you imagine the implication this will have on local search in the future? This is another reason to ensure NAP data is correct online for the local businesses you represent.
Google Now Meets Micro-Moments
Google uses the phrase “micro-moments” for those small moments in time that consumers are looking for information on their smartphones that they need to learn, do or buy right at that moment.
Google Now connects people in those micro-moments to what they are searching for. With the ability to remember searches and bring them up via Cards, this is an opportunity, similar to retargeting, to get your information, website, blogs, etc. in front of consumers repeatedly during their next micro-moment.
Personalization and Beyond
In an attempt to minimize overwhelm and intrusion, Google Now allows the user to customize information. If, for instance, you were using your phone to research a specific topic and similar data continues to display after you’re finished, you can go into the settings and adjust the topic out. This is true for alert frequency and other parts of the assistant as well.
Whether or not everyone jumps on board with the current state of digital personal assistants remains to be seen. The reality is that these applications and systems are becoming more complex and nuanced, allowing us to speak to them like we would an actual person.
The way and speed these applications learn is astonishing, as is the amount of information Google knows about each of us based on our search habits. As issues with language and accent are continually worked out, it will be interesting to see how many people move to voice command search instead of typed search.
Is trading some personal data and preferences for the convenience of answers, tips, and reminders worth it? I like waking up to my digital assistant, so it is for me!
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