It’s been a long time coming but Google has finally brought its Google Now service to the iPhone and iPad. Arguably a more comprehensive alternative to Apple’s Siri, the personal assistant feature uses a natural language user interface to answer questions, make recommendations, and deliver information to the user even before he asks for it by predicting what they want based on user settings and past search habits.
Unlike its Android sibling, which is available system-wide with a swipe up from the home button, Google Now on iOS is confined to the Google Search application. But once you’re actually in the app the look and feel is pretty much identical on both platforms, and you’ll have access to almost as many as Now cards, including birthdays, weather, upcoming appointments, traffic, scores from you favorite sports teams, places, and more.
New cards come up based on users’ Google Account activities or their location to provide “the right information, just at the right time” and can be swiped off-screen when the information is no longer relevant.
Some of the Android features missing from Google Now's iOS app include cards for showing airline boarding passes and movie tickets bought through Fandango -- likely because it duplicates functionality from Apple's built-in Passbook and is therefore restricted from the App Store.
It also lacks the ability to push high-priority alerts, fetch information on concerts or nearby events, and while Google Now will be able to display your upcoming appointments, it will only pull that information from your Google Calendar, instead of sourcing them from the native Apple Calendar app as well.
All in all, Google Now will still be a better experience on Android, but at least most of the functionality will be on iOS -- and you could get system-wide functionality on a jailbroken device too.
Those worried about privacy -- this is Google, after all -- can access the settings menu to clear their search history and cookies, turn off location reporting and on-device history, deactivate Google Now altogether or just decide what information should Google fetch for you on a per card basis.
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