Google Now Makes Sense of our Digital Existence (in ways that Siri can’t)

by Matt Klassen on February 12, 2013

Google isn’t interested in usurping Apple’s mobile kingdom one piece at a time, it wants the whole thing right now; no doubt the reason the search engine giant chose the Grammy’s to unveil its new Nexus 4 and to take a jab at Apple’s buggy Siri voice assistant with its own Google Now offering. While not particularly interested in voice itself, Google is looking to enhance our ‘connected everything’ digital lifestyle with the one thing Siri simply cannot offer: relevant real-time connections.

You see, in the grand scheme of things smartphones, despite their poorly chosen name, really aren’t that smart. While our favourite handsets may do a little thinking for themselves, what they really do is compile our personal information and sell it to the highest bidder to create predictable patterns, which it then communicates back to us in a way that makes us think its brilliant…at least that’s what Google thinks a smartphone should do.

So while you continue to be frustrated by the fact that Siri can’t understand a word you’re saying (I’m talking to you, Ireland), perhaps Google Now is the real-time mobile assistant solution we’ve been waiting for, one that knows how to make connections between the disparate compartments of our lives.

As TechCrunch writer Jordan Crook explains, “If Google Now sees in my calendar that I plan on working out at noon today, but also sees that the train I usually take to the gym is experiencing delays, Google Now will let me know that I need to leave a bit earlier to make it there on time.”

But it doesn’t stop there, providing the same sort of location-based services we find on Siri (restaurant location etc…) and unique translation services for those us who frequently travel abroad (yet who lamentably speak nothing but English).

While the latest Google commercial featuring Google Now contains no voice, it’s not hard to see the comparison to Apple’s increasingly ubiquitous Siri assistant. But where Siri fails, Google Now looks to surge ahead, offering increased voice recognition abilities and the unique ability to make connections based on time and real-time events, such as reminding you to leave a little earlier for your doctor’s appointment because Google Maps has reported an accident on the highway.

“The right information at just the right time. Nexus 4 with Google Now,” reads the tagline. It’s the sort of brilliance that really isn’t brilliant at all; it’s the sort that has always been blindingly obvious and certainly necessary, particularly as our digital lifestyle continues to comprehensively dominate every facet of our lives.

Further, its becoming increasingly obvious that Apple is unable to provide the sort of multi-faceted platform users want and need in this ‘connected everything’ age, as the Cupertino company simply hasn’t invested the same leg work Google has in creating an entire digital world designed to answer our every question and meet our every need, with Google Now finally adding the interface the brings them all together.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. Follow by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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