Is Google Now the personal assistant of your dreams? [Poll]

Google Now: one of the signature features of the update to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and beyond. Initially launching at the 2012 Google I/O developer conference, its grand purpose is to give you the information you want, without having to go and get it. Be that local weather, traffic information for your commute to work, sports scores, even now pulling in flight and package shipping information. If you travel to another country, Google Now will provide handy cards to calculate costs using the current exchange rate, for easy translation into the local tongue and even to tell you what the time is back home. Google Now is supposed to be your intelligent assistant. And now, it's with us on iOS

The iOS equivalent packs all the same useful bits and pieces as its Android sibling. What it lacks though, is notifications. On Android, Google Now makes use of the notification tray to help deliver some of this key information. With a swipe down from the top, current sports scores, or notifications reminding you to leave for a meeting now if you want to be on time just appear. Getting into the main Google Now page varies device to device, but on the Nexus devices a simple swipe up from the home button is all it takes.

Having been a long time user of the service on the Android platform, to me at least, Google Now feels somewhat lacking on iOS. It isn't necessarily Google's fault, they're bound to the limitations of the platform. On Android, Google Now is baked into the OS. On iOS, it has to be baked into a third-party application. So, while the information is still there, you have to go and get it, instead of it being presented to you. And that doesn't feel like the experience Google Now is supposed to be.

That said, it's a beautifully executed application. It invites the desire to use it, and follows the theme of superbly designed applications from Google on iOS. But, we want to know what you, the iMore readers think. Are you using Google Now? There's no doubts that it's useful, but is it enough to compel you to integrate it into your daily lives?

Give us your vote in the poll above, and drop some details into the comments below!

Have something to say about this story? Share your comments below! Need help with something else? Submit your question!

Richard Devine

Senior Editor at iMore, part time racing driver, full time British guy

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Reader comments

Is Google Now the personal assistant of your dreams? [Poll]

26 Comments

It's almost useless. Part of Google Now's power is having the ability to always be on and ready when you are using an Android device. Since the iOS version is unable to do that, I have found my experience with GN has been pretty terrible in contrast to my experience with Android. I just checked it now, and it has my daily commute completely incorrect. This is because it's unable to actually track my driving and it just assumes a 'best route' based on Google Maps data and not actual use. If Google could get this application to work in the background, the experience would be far, far better and a real Google Now experience.

Oh and -- notifications are kind of critical as well.

Completely agree and on top of that it can't even get the simples task of package tracking done correctly. I do get the card saying track a package but when i tap on it it does not recognize the tracking number as a link which standard ios email app recognizes with no problems . Google Now on iOS- FAIL.

Apple needs to implement something like Google Now into iOS 7. GN running as an iOS app is basically useless, since there is no true multitasking on iOS.

I don't think the problem is multi-tasking, the problem is that Google Now can't (or doesn't, yet) run in the background or have alerts. Other applications run in the background and send alerts just fine, like Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.

And I am not sure Apple would want to get into the permission related problems so as to have access to our emails etc. I don´t see Apple going that far..

What exactly do you need "true multiasking" for in this instance? The only thing, it needs on iOS is notifications. I don´t think they would ever have the permission to get into iOS stock apps like alarms and reminders..

I love Google products, including Google Now. I always try to use Google Apps first and wish iOS and Google could get along better because I love iOS and the only reason I have my device jailbroken is to be able to use Google products as the phones default selections. Fact.

There's no doubt it's useful? Not without notifications or integration into iOS. And even then it probably wouldn't be worthwhile.

It is very nice -- when I remember to open it. To be truly useful on iOS, it needs:

1) Push notifications
2) Deeper integration into the OS
3) *FAR* less aggressive use of location information. Privacy issues aside, the drain on battery life was (for me) very noticeable.

What you and other guys are thinking about is Android. I don´t see how Google Now can have more access to iOS other than probably notifications later on...

#1 and #3 could be done on iOS -- #2, admittedly, is the killer, as Apple will never allow that. Google Now will *always* work better on platforms that allow it more freedom. If/when Google Now becomes so irresistably useful, I might even switch to one of those platforms. It's not there yet, though.

And the only platform that will allow Google such freedom is Android. I see neither Blackberry nor Windows Phone allowing such freedoms.

Totally agree, plus a widget or live tile-type of active icon. Google now is the only thing I really miss in moving from a GS3 to an iPhone5.

wonder if Google will be making a Blackberry !0 native cascades app or porting there android version over once the runtime is updated to jelly bean. If they plan on bringing it over at all. Blackberry would be open to giving them all the background abilities needed.

I really like Google Now on Android. I hope that Google makes it for iOS. Right now, it is not comparable to the Android app. I like using Google Search esp the voice search, but it needs to be much more like it is on Android...just like everyone says.

People who say it's useless though, apparently don't integrate their Google account or don't realize you have to use it often for it to be useful.

It's more useful than Siri is to me.

I do use GN every day (and multiple times throughout the day). It has worked well for me but recently there has been a strange bug where it keeps asking me if I want to edit/ change my work location to some random, bizarre location. This happens without rhyme or reason - it will ask me this.

I also find it lacking. Maybe it's just because I use it on Android daily, but what it lacks on iOS is exactly what makes me not want to use it iOS. I will never have the "ignorance is bliss" ability though, to be able to like or dislike it on iOS on its own merits. I actually already turned location tracking off within the app because whatever perceived or actual battery drain it evokes just isn't worth it for me since the information isn't just there when I turn on my phone. Amazing what a few extra taps does for the experience. GoogleNow is an immensely powerful and useful app if you use Google services, but the experience just isn't the same for me on iOS and find myself not using it or just getting irritated that I have to seek out the information when my android devices are pushing it to me. Nice try Google, but it just doesn't do it for me. This is an app that iOS limitations really ruin it for someone who knows the full power of the app.

Siri people that's where iOS7 has to shine to help you forget to click on that light blue lowercase g

Definitely google now is not the app that u tend to use daily. The important feature of personal assistant app is to send you push notifications, which google now for iOS does not do, which seem to be a biggest draw back.

One year later, Google Now on IOS needs some improvement. I use it as my daily driver, and my one gripe is the reminders.
It does not have an option for recurring reminders, it is still one day only. Hopefully with IOS 8 it catches up with Android.