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Google Now

Updated on July 7, 2012

Google Now

Google Now is the latest service from Google which helps you manage your day without you having to ask for assistance. It works by learning your daily habits and then displays the information required as you leave for work, arrive at a subway station, or you arrive at the airport for a flight. It's accessible through a simple swipe-up gesture on the device.

Google Now is going to be available for the next version of Android, 4.1 aka Jelly Bean. That version of Android will be available on the Nexus 7 tablet, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and Nexus S phones, plus other devices that the manufacturers choose to update. Read more about it on The Verge's review of Android 4.1.

Android 4.1 ports are being developed and released on the Xda Developers forum for people with rooted Android phones. Here is the Nexus S port for example, which is still a bit buggy.

Google Now - Traffic Card
Google Now - Traffic Card | Source
Google Now- Transit
Google Now- Transit

Cards Hold the Info

Information for Google Now is displayed through different cards that pop up on the screen or are accessible through the Google Now app. The cards aren't sortable, but are easily dismissed, showing you a range of information. There are cards for the following, so far:

  • Traffic - get traffic conditions and suggested alternate routes before leaving for your commute.
  • Public Transit - get the information about the next train or bus while close to a station or stop.
  • Next Appointment - get information on how long it will take to reach your next appointment, and a reminder for when you should leave.
  • Flights - updates on the flight information you most recently searched about.
  • Sports - get the information about your favourite sports team, and even buy tickets for events.
  • Places - get suggestions on which restaurants to eat at, which attractions to go see, bars to go drink at. You can bounce over to Maps to read more reviews and detailed instructions on how to get there, or make a reservation.
  • Weather - get updated weather as soon as you turn on the screen in the morning.

You can also translate words easily, get currency exchange information, and find out the time at home when you're traveling abroad.


Voice Search

Google Now also has an extended voice search capability that makes its voice search more powerful. Instead of displaying a list of search results like most search systems do, it provides a Siri-like response showing you the answer to your queries immediately. You can still access the normal voice functions, like playing music or sending messages, but the system functions a bit better that previous versions of Android.

Google Now - for Ice Cream Sandwich

As previously mentioned, Google Now is going to be featured prominently on Android 4.1 systems. That being said, there is work being done to port it over to Android 4.0, aka Ice Cream Sandwich. The developer febcyv posted the instructions over at the XDA Developers forum.

Please note that the instructions are for rooted phones running a specific version of Android 4.0. This is not for devices just bought off the shelf.

Before attempting the instructions, you will also need an app for your phone: Root Explorer. I tried following the instructions with some of the more common file explorer apps, like ES File Explorer, but it failed. Worked perfectly when using Root Explorer.

Below is a video of someone running it on their 4.0 device so you can see that it does work.


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