"Here in America, our success should depend not on accident of birth, but the strength of our work ethic and the scope of our dreams. That’s what drew our forebears here. It’s how the daughter of a factory worker is CEO of America’s largest automaker; how the son of a barkeeper is Speaker of the House; how the son of a single mom can be President of the greatest nation on Earth."
Continuing the Case for Android: Google Now
It’s been around for a while, but Google Now is absolutely my favorite feature of Android 4.2+. Think Siri, plus Samantha from “Her”, but better.
Let’s dig in.
Useful Info When you Need It
Flights, weather, attractions, TV shows, movies, subways, commute times to calendar meetings: “Ms. Now” knows what you need to know before you do. And when traveling, she’s like the incredible personal assistant that you could actually probably afford now because you bought the HTC One for $0.01 on Amazon instead of dropping $300 on a new S.
The Best Search
Just tap one icon from the home screen or say “Okay, Google” and the extremely effective semantic web search will figure out the best way to find and deliver your answer.
For 30 or so questions, ‘Now’ will give you an optimized response with a picture and large text answer. And speak it back to you in a refreshingly un-robotic voice.
Something more complex? ‘Now’ delivers web search results right up front. None of this “I couldn’t find X. Would you like me to search the web for X?” (iOS users know how annoying that is… of course I want you to search the damn web, Siri! You have a brain the size of a postage stamp!).
'Now' Gets Out of the Way
Siri was revolutionary when the iPhone 4S was released, but the novelty of having a conversation with a robot has worn off. In general, you want a quick answer when you hold down that home button. Otherwise, you’d spend the time to open the actual app or search the web yourself.
When I ask to set an alarm, send a text message, or add a meeting to my calendar, please just do it. Don’t ask me again if I reeaalllly wanted you to do it. Instead of useless banter that makes you feel weird for conversing with your phone, ‘Now’ shows the new reminder being created, and a 4-second countdown where you have the option cancel if you want.
All in all, Google Now has delivered an amazingly consistent experience that responds with more timely and useful information than Siri. Just one of the many reasons I’m thankful for my switch from iOS to Android last year.
For more head-to-head analysis and some visuals, check out CNET’s video on YouTube, "Google Now vs. Siri: The rematch".