Google has updated its basic Search app for iOS with Google Now integration, the company’s personal digital assistant. Initially released as part of Android 4.1, Google Now is finally available for both major mobile operating systems in the form of a universal iOS app and an Android app for older devices.
Google Now makes use of users’ search history, as well as other criteria like location, to deliver relevant information such as traffic conditions, weather and favorite sports team results. In order to use the smarter “passive” suggestions from Google Now, users must enable search history on their accounts, something many will have turned off last year due to privacy concerns regarding the storage of such data.
Information on Google Now is displayed in the form of cards, accessed by swiping up from the app’s main search interface. Dismiss a card by swiping left or right and Now will start to learn what information you value and what you’d like to see less of. Location information is gathered in order to show weather conditions but also quick access to Google Translate, currency conversion and time differences while abroad.
For users who have search history enabled, Google Now will serve up some interesting suggestions. It can help you find your way home according to traffic conditions, check the status of your upcoming flight or get news updates for stories you’ve already read — all without requiring any action on your part. According to Google, the more you use Now the better it gets, and from experience, if you don’t have search history enabled, the feature is far less useful.
Some users are reporting that due to a reliance on GPS, the app is causing excessive battery drain on iOS devices, though turning off Location Reporting under the app’s settings (accessed via the cog icon) apparently solves this by restricting GPS usage to only when the app is active.
The update unifies Google’s iOS Search line-up which already includes Goggles for searching using your device’s camera, voice searching similar to Siri, and quick access to some of Google’s most oft-used services in a couple of taps. It’s already live on the App Store, so update or download the app now.
Download: Google Search for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch @ App Store (Free)
Source: Official Google Blog