When Apple introduced Siri, they started quite a war amongst and for other smartphone competitors to match the Cupertino giant’s virtual personal assistant. Android, being the biggest iOS counterpart, received the most share of such solutions, including the likes of S Voice from Samsung, and Google’s own Google Now – a real time, intelligent and location-aware service embedded within the Google Search app for Android. Over time, Google now has matured quite a lot, delivering the right information at the right time, letting you plan your commutes, flights, travel plans, day schedule and whatnot when you need it. Now, with the latest update to Google Now, Google has made the app all the more useful, introducing widget support for devices running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and above, as well as new information sources.
The full list of changes, while not very extensive, brings some really neat features to the table, especially the widget support. Before we get to that, let’s see what the change log entails.
- Google Now widget for home screen or lock screen
- Movie passes from Fandango
- Movies now includes ratings from Rotten Tomatoes
- Real estate listings from Zillow when in the market for a home
- Music button when a song is playing in voice mode (US only)
- Support for US college sports
Widget support is especially worth a mention, since these are something that are always visible on your device’s home screen, and a constantly-updating information set means more convenience for the end user. Want to travel back home? Google Now widget will always keep you apprised of what the traffic looks like. Going to watch your favorite blockbuster? Let Google Now manage that for you, through its on-screen widget and timely reminders on when you should leave for the show. Pretty effective in our opinion.
The information front for the search service, too, has seen a much-needed uplift, where the aggregation of movie tickets from Fandango means that as soon as you arrive at the theatre, your passes are pulled up. Then, if you’re uncertain on which title to watch, Google Now’s review aggregation from Rotten Tomatoes is there to the rescue. Real estate buying and selling has also been supported in the form of property listings from Zillow, allowing you to pull more information on your device about the accommodation that you’re considering.
For the US-based users, support for college sports and leagues has also been introduced, allowing you to now query Google Now for keeping abreast of the happenings in your favorite local teams.
All in all, a pretty useful update to the already-remarkable service, particularly the widget support. If you are a user of Google Now on Android 4.1 or above, the update should be available to you in the Play Store right away.
(Source: Official Android Blog)
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