It is really just another search app but uses voice and delivers personalised results based on your location, time, Gmail account and a database of personal preferences and searches that it builds over time.
It recognizes repeated actions that a user performs on the device (common locations, repeated calendar appointments, search queries, etc.) to display more relevant information to the user in the form of specialised cards currently comprising:
- Activity Summary (Walking and Biking)
- Gmail: Events
- Gmail: Flights
- Gmail: Hotels
- Gmail: Package Tracking
- Gmail: Restaurants
- Next Meeting
- Photo Spot Nearby
- Public Alerts
- Public Transit
- Research Topics
- Travel: Attractions Nearby
- Travel: Time Back Home
For example it will tell you the weather at the time you normally get dressed (no peaking please), traffic en route in the car, how to get to your next appointment – helpful app that ‘is always one step ahead with the predictive power of now’.
Initial feedback (over the past few days) is that the search results are accurate, well presented and the voice recognition is excellent. It is rating mostly 5 stars at Google Play. There have been some concerns that it may use too much processing power for older handsets and increase average revenue per unit for more data use but I suspect no more than any other voice search/assistant.
On iOS the advice is that it is best used to help Siri. A good review here may help to iOS users in overcoming any issues between Siri and Now.
Time will tell if Now is better than Siri or Samsung’s new S Voice or Microsoft’s Voice Recognition or Bing Voice search but one thing is for sure – to be of use it will have to know more about you than you may want to reveal.