Have you ever noticed how inefficient it can be to skim through pages and pages of search results to find a simple thing? Granted search engines do provide an abundance of information based on what they deem relevant, do the results ever really feel specific to you? Wouldn’t it be nice while on the go to have information you really need at your fingertips? A Nielsen consumer report has shown that the average person spends 34 hours accessing the Internet via a mobile device every month compared to 27 hours via desktop. Although not an alarming or revolutionary finding, it comes as no surprise then that we have taken to searching over apps rather than search engines themselves. Even more interesting is that within this market of mobile search users there is greater fragmentations, especially that of local search. Although the digital world has been witness to many technologies promising to facilitate and enrich the consumer experience with applications (such as Siri) none have proven to be as promised, that is until recently, In a non-revolutionary rather evolutionary approach, Google now may have changed this.
Google now is a response to the IOS “intelligent personal assistant” which pays less attention to voice responses and focuses more on providing users with relevant and useful information directed at them. Specifically. Through access of a user’s email, calendar, contacts, past searches, location via GPS, trips booked and even photos posted Google now provides real-time, personalized cards of information which are casually displayed on desired screens of devices promising users “less time digging and more time living”. The thought and obvious advantage behind this is information related to you without you having to search for it, it is all in the palm of your hand. Without having to think of clever ways to generate the search results you’re looking for, multiple times, Google now offers up cards unique to your interests and needs. Additionally, Google now helps your day move almost seamlessly along. For example, if you calendar indicates you have a meeting in 1 hour and based on your heavy use of a trip/public transportation-planning app Google now would automatically display the relevant train line based on the location and time of the meeting without you having to open the app. It would even notify you if your train has been delayed and alert you to consider leaving early. Google now can also store boarding passes, notify you of flight status, provide translations if travelling, weather, and local attractions to name a few perks.
The downside for some however is the trade-off in that you have to be willing to allow an invasive approach to generated results. It’s important to recognize that as a global and reputable company Google is likely very aware and appreciative of the dangers both legal and commercial of using this personalized data for reasons short of the highest degree of integrity. As with all things, Google now is to encourage users to use the Internet more frequently while improving the overall effectiveness of the search engine itself, advertising and algorithms. So, if you’re okay with providing some anonymous information about yourself and your activities Google has ultimately given you access to a free personal assistant (with the exception of your data charges of course).
Most recently Google has integrated Google now with more than 30 apps which include Pandora, Hootesuite, Booking.com, Qantas Airlines and Air New Zealand with plans of expanding the list and provider platforms to provide users with the most cohesive and integrated form of search.