Google Now - what is it good for?

So, seriously, when I tell people that ensuring they get the latest updates for their phone, I mean it.  Especially when it comes to getting 4.1+ updates.

The biggest thing for me that JellyBean update brings is Google Now.

There's a new Nexus 4 commercial going on out there, and it's talking about "Live in the Now".  But what is it really?

Here's a quick video:

So yeah, it's showing off quickly some neat features:

  • translating
  • transit times
  • weather
  • Restaurants nearby
  • etc...
I love it.  But the trick is it takes some time for it to 'figure you out'.  So be patient.

But what can it do?  Well, if you're in bigger areas than say... Thunder Bay.  Lots.  And if you're in the US, even more.  Even still, it's darn useful.

How do I use it?

Well, most of the time when I swipe for it, it just shows me birthdays and the weather.

But, if I've got a meeting set up some place, it will take note of the location and if it's a Google'able map location, it'll tell me when I've got to get my butt in gear to get there on time.

It also knows when I'm about to go to work, so when I look at it in the morning it'll show that route for me as well (same with home time).  I'm guess that it's there so that if there's traffic alerts, I'll be told.

It also recognizes sometimes when I search for a product there'll be a little "continue research" button.  As if you weren't finished and want to continue that train of thought down the road.

There's even the cool feature to say "Search by camera" where it'll act just like Google Goggles.

Pretty neat stuff.

Oh, of course there's the voice stuff.  The whole "isn't this just a Siri rip off?" question ... which you don't want to start that argument with me.

But hitting the microphone brings up the voice action powers.

You can get it to do some powerful stuff.  Like you can ask it to do a 'barrel roll.  Which is fun, or ask it the "meaning of life the universe and everything", which is handy.

But even more you can ask it stuff like how far is it to the moon?  What's the population of Toronto.

You can ask it even stuff like 'bacon numbers' or about specific people.

There are even tasks like "post to Google+" or similar.  It's growing.

Then there's still a ton of stuff I haven't touched.  Many of which are 'passive'

If you're a sports fan you can put in your team and it'll keep you apprised of games, scores and standings.  If you have items shipped and a notification is in your email it'll track it for you.  Search for a flight (like if you want to pick up your sister in law from the airport) and it'll keep track of it for you.

There's a pretty good list of commands at:

I've put together a new database for you to go through: