Google Now: your 24/7 mobile virtual PA


Has Google finally outdone Apple? No, surely not? Well if Google’s latest search technology is anything to go by then yes, I think Google has finally beaten Apple to the finish line.

When Google announced Google Now, a search-centric, voice-powered digital assistant for the upcoming version of Android called Jelly Bean I’m sure many thought that it could never rival Apple’s equivalent Siri. After all it is Apple. But what we must remember is that Google started as a search business and that is always what Google will be good at. Not even Apple can rival Google’s expertise in this field.

Sure Siri is a great virtual assistant, helping us remember appointments, setting reminders and answering oddball questions but what it lacks is the ability to answer real human needs in a split second and remaining one step ahead of us without us even asking it anything. That is where Google Now comes in.

Imagine you are have scheduled a few meetings for the same day. You were in the city for a day and it seemed like the logical thing to do. But with several meetings scheduled so closely together its hard to keep track of time. With Google Now you don’t have to. Google Now will send you a notification of when it’s time to leave for the next meeting if you want to make it on time. It even takes traffic into consideration. Pretty smart for a virtual assistant.

You don’t need to sift through and waste time searching for information you need throughout your day, Google Now does that for you. It organises your life. And if like me your life is an ‘organised’ mess then who wouldn’t want a free personal assistant to manage things for you?  A personal assistant available 24/7 who doesn’t answer back, require lunch breaks or a salary. Perfect!

Google Now does exactly what its name implies; it Google searches information for you when you need it, now. How does it do this? Well the Google team have spent months in their lab figuring out how to shave the seconds off the response time and eureka they did it! Google Now is almost instantaneous. But how on earth does Google know what information is relevant to you? Well that bit is easy; it simply remembers your search history. So if you are constantly searching the latest premier league results for Manchester United then each time a game is on Google Now will notify you with the score. You don’t even have to ask.

But if you do need to ask then you simply talk to your mobile device; ‘Where is the Brighton Centre?’ Within a second Google Now will have a map and route ready at your fingertips. No need to ever be lost or late for those meetings again.

For all you food lovers out there, a personal favourite of mine is when looking for a restaurant with a particular type of food. Not only does it display the location of the restaurant but it also lists the best dishes available. Amazing!

Google Now definitely offers an easier navigation through life and much easier way to do business. Let’s just hope that the Jelly Bean version of Android it runs on is available on our mobile devices sooner rather than later.

To see Google Now in action check out this video:

About the author 

Pete Baikins

Pete Baikins is an international authority on gamification, a lifelong gamer, successful entrepreneur and a lecturer. As CEO of Gamification+ Ltd he mentors and trains companies world-wide on the use of gamification to solve business challenges. Gamification+ won the Board of Trade Award from the UK's Department of International Trade in January 2019.

Pete is co-host of the health gamification podcast Health Points and is also Chair of Gamification Europe, the annual conference for Gamification practitioners.

Pete is an Honorary Ambassador for GamFed (International Gamification Confederation), having previously been the Chair from 2014 to February 2019, whose aim is to spread best practices within and support the gamification industry.

After 15 years as a Lecturer on gamification and entrepreneurship at the University of Brighton he now guest lectures on Gamification at King’s College London and at ESCP Europe at post-graduate and under-graduate levels.

Over the past 20 years Pete has built and sold two businesses. One was in security software and the more recent one was a telecoms and internet connectivity business. He is also an Ambassador for Brighton & Hove Chamber of Commerce in the UK.

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