Google Now, the service that gives consumers timely and perfectly timed information on their Android smartphones and tablets just as they need it, is again getting a new round of features.
Users can now instantly access movie ratings before they head to a local theater and can also receive their tickets right on the screen of their device, according to a Feb. 13 post by Baris Gultekin, the Google Now product management director, on the Android Official Blog.
"Today, we're making Google Now even more useful by integrating new partners and making all your information even easier to access," wrote Gultekin. "Going to the movies? Movie cards now include the latest ratings from Rotten Tomatoes, so you can pick the right movie. Purchase your tickets through Fandango, and Google Now will remind you when you need to leave for the theater, and pull up your tickets once you arrive."
Another new service is the instant availability of listings for houses and condos for sale in local neighborhoods, making it easier for home-buyers to find the place that's right for them, according to the post.
"Google Now can provide you with nearby real estate listings from Zillow," wrote Gultekin. "Plus, when you are checking out that remodeled kitchen at the open house, [Google] Now will automatically pull up more information about the listing."
One other Google Now update should garner lots of accolades for improving its ease of use: Now the Google Now information cards that users want to see are shown on the device's home or lock screen, so users no longer have to click a button to bring them up. That puts the information in an easier place to access it, simplifying the process.
"When Google Now first launched last summer, we promised it was just the beginning, and it would continue to get better at delivering you more of the information you need, before you even ask," wrote Gultekin. "This is the fourth update since launch, and we're just getting started!"
Google Now, which was introduced by Google in June 2012, is available for free through the latest version of the Google Search app for Android, which can be downloaded from the Google Play store for devices running Android 4.1 and above.
A useful set-up guide for installing and organizing Google Now on your devices is available through Android Authority.
In December, Google Now received a host of other intriguing improvements aimed at making holiday travel easier and less stressful, including the availability of instant and up-to-date travel information before users even head to the airport, train station or bus terminal.
The Now service was expanded in December to also bring 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.
Google Now presents its information through a series of flip-through "cards" that are visible on the screen of Android mobile devices, providing a different piece of information on each card. The "cards" appear on Android mobile devices 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 the instant updates about public transportation, flight information, traffic reports, sports scores, appointments, weather, hotels, events, restaurant reservations and more.