Google has finally unveiled its cool, useful Now app for iPhone and iPad users that offers new ways to get information as they need it, right on their mobile devices.
"Google Now for iPhone and iPad is available as part of the updated Google Search app," wrote Andrea Huey, a Google engineer, in an April 29 post on the Google Official Blog. "Together, Google Now and voice search will make your day run a little smoother."
Google Now, which was introduced for Android devices by Google in June 2012, presents its information through a series of flip-through "cards" that are visible on the screen of a device, providing a different piece of information on each card. The "cards" appear at the moment they are needed by users, such as the train schedule card appearing when they are heading to the local train station.
Users of Google Now set their own preferences for what information cards appear on their mobile devices. So far, more than 25 cards are available for Android users to receive instant updates about public transportation, flight information, traffic reports, sports scores, appointments, weather, hotels, events, restaurant reservations and more.
"Many of us can no longer imagine life without our smartphones," wrote Huey. "We use them for all sorts of things, like getting reminders of important calendar appointments (say, a first date) and driving directions to the Italian restaurant where your table for two awaits. Today, with the launch of Google Now on iPhone and iPad, your smartphone will become even smarter."
The app can be downloaded for free from the Apple iTunes store as part of the new Google Search for iOS app. The latest version of the search app also includes enhanced voice search with text streamed on the fly, as well as faster results compared with searching using a browser, according to Huey's post.
A Google spokesperson declined to comment to eWEEK on April 29 about the new Now release for iOS.
One notable point about the iOS release compared with the Android release is that some of the cards provided in the Android version are not yet available for the iOS version, according to Google. The cards that are missing at this time include cards that allow users to load flight boarding passes, Fandango movie tickets and Zillow real estate listings on their devices. The missing cards are expected to be added for iOS users soon.
Another feature that is missing in the iOS version is the ability for a user to swipe upward on their device to quickly launch the application, which is possible using Android, according to TechCrunch.&
In March, reports surfaced that Google Now is also under development for desktop users. An early glimpse of the upcoming feature was posted on Google+ by a French developer, Francois Beaufort. The service is not yet live, but its appearance in the beta build could indicate that Google is looking at expanding its use to the desktop.
A useful setup guide for installing and organizing Google Now on your devices is available through Android Authority.
In December 2012, Google Now received a host of other intriguing improvements aimed at making holiday travel easier and less stressful, including the availability of instant, up-to-date travel information before users even head to the airport, train station or bus terminal.
Google Now also brings travelers helpful information on the weather and things to do in their destination city as they travel. Once at their destination, Google Now can display options for things to do in the new location, including information on local events near users, as well as suggestions for Websites to explore the events and to get more information on museums, culture and more.
For desktop computer users, Google Now could deliver an experience that brings real-time information on a variety of things, such as news, weather, sports and more.
In February, Google Now added several updates, including the ability for users to get instant movie ratings before heading to a local theater, while also being able to receive their tickets right on the screen of their device. Also added was the instant availability of listings for houses and condos for sale in local neighborhoods, making it easier for homebuyers to find the place that's right for them.