Google, We "Now" Have a Problem

When I first got my brand new Android smartphone one of the first apps that I wanted to download with the Google Now app. In fact, I went on to Play Store app on my phone and immediately searched for Google Now. Unfortunately, nothing came up. I went on the computer and check the Google Play Store and, once again, got no results. I had to ask some of my Google+ followers what exactly Google Now was and how I could download the app. Google Now is simply an extension of the Google search app.

Google Now on Apple iOS

Today Google released a video explaining Apple iOS users the capabilities of Google Now. Unfortunately, many Apple users are going to be very confused as they will likely assume they need to download the Google Now app. When searching the App Store they are not going to find any opportunities. In fact, some of the more reputable names in the search industry Tweeted about the fact that the Google Now branding is a little bit broken.

If I am an avid Google+ user and I have an Android phone and I still don't know what Google Now was so this is a huge issue. Google, we "now" have a problem. I have said many times that Google is not the best marketing company. They need to come up with a single name for their search app. Rather than having the Google search app with now capabilities they either need to name the app Google Now or Google Search Now.

Unfortunately, this update has already rolled out to iOS users and many of them will have no clue as to what is going on. Rather than trying to make this difficult it would be smart for Google to simply create an app that has the name Google Now. If you are looking to try out the options that are available through Google Now you will simply need to update your current Google Search App. If you have been an iOS user for years you likely have one of the Google search apps that was preinstalled on an Apple phone.

What Can Google Now Do?Google NOW on iOS

Google Now offers some very unique opportunities that are not available through previous search apps. Something that has become very common is "cards." Google is trying to give you cards for anything that may be of interest to you. If you have searched something in the recent past you will find the card pops up on your Google search app. Here is an example:

If you are a diehard NBA basketball fan and you follow the New York Knicks you probably searched something for the New York Knicks playoff games recently. If you open the Google search app with Google now you will find that there is a card showing you the news and scores for the New York Knicks. With the newest Android phones you will also get notifications that tell you when the Knicks are playing and where they are playing. If you happen to live in New York City it may even tell you how long it would take you to drive to see the Knicks play at Madison Square Garden.

Something else that is very effective about Google Now is it will give you an estimated time of arrival to return home. If you are consistently at a different location than your home Google Now will assume that it is your work location. When sitting at this location you will find that it gives you an estimated time of arrival for when you will return home. It is important to note that you can turn this off by simply disabling GPS on a Google search app. If you do not disable GPS you will likely find that Google knows quite a bit about where you go and what you like to do.

Other Google Now Options

There are many other features that are available with Google Now that were once available through iGoogle. If you ever had a customized iGoogle you probably remember being able to put certain widgets on your home screen. This is now available through the Google Search App. If you have certain stocks you are tracking or certain games you want to play they will be available through cards on the Google Search App. This is very useful for someone who simply wants to check up on their stocks or wants to see some of the latest headlines for a topic they have been searching in the recent past.

It is important to remember that all of this can be disabled by simply turning it off when downloading the Google Search app. The Google Search App asks you if you want to enable search history and GPS. If you are worried that Google is tracking too much data about you you can simply turn it off. That being said, you will not be able to use all of the functions of the Google Search App if you have turned off the Now capabilities.

Branding of Google Now

After reading the first 800 words of this article you can probably tell that it is difficult to explain the difference in the Google Search app and Google Now. This is very poor branding on the part of Google as they are one and the same. The company needs to do something to make certain that users know the newest Google Search app is Google now. I am not certain how they are going to do this in the future as it is available on both Android and iOS. It would have been very smart to do it from the beginning.

Now that many IOS users have updated their Google Search app it will be interesting to see how they use the Google Now capabilities. Some people are very wary of the data that is tracked on their phones. If so, they will not get as much out of the Google search app. If you just want to try it out I would suggest allowing Google the opportunity to track GPS and searches for 24 hours just to see what this app can do.




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