The good folks at Google’s iOS development team have seen fit to bring over many of the features that have made Android so popular. First it was Gmail, then a true YouTube experience, then Maps, and today the company is making Google Now available to millions of iOS users through an update to its Search app.
The way it works is fairly similar to what you’d find on Android, but Google’s operating system still has the advantage of being able to notify you in the background. Google Now is not yet able to send push notifications, so while you’re able to check the weather or how long it will take to get to work, it’s a matter of remembering to explicitly open the app to receive that information. Google is using WiFi location data to ensure optimal battery life, as plugging into iOS’ GPS API would inevitably lead to a great deal of user displeasure.
Most of Google Now’s core functions are available, and Cards are accessed by a simple swipe up from the bottom of the screen, reminiscent to what you’d find across the system in Android. Because it mines your search data and Gmails, Now is able to tell when your upcoming flight is and notify you of a delay, or it’s able to tell you of nearby attractions in the city you’re visiting.
Unlike on Android, to truly take advantage of Google Now for iOS, you’re going to have to remember to open that app, and open it often. Until push notifications are added to the app, it’s the only way to access data from the service. Android users who have integrated Google Now into their lives will scoff at the idea of opening a separate app to receive important notifications, but it’s a compromise one has to accept due to the constricted nature of iOS itself.
Nevertheless, this is just the first version, and from what we’ve seen of Now itself, it’s a fast-changing product.
Download Google Search with Now for iOS. The app is compatible with iPhone and iPad.