Google announced the latest version of Android, Jellybean, today at Google I/O. Included are some search upgrades. There are three main search features new to the operating system: richer Knowledge Graph displays, better voice search (with what appears to be Google’s Siri competitor), and something called Google Now.
As far as better voice search, it’s faster, is better at natural language and it talks back to you. More on Google’s Siri competitor here.
As far as the Knowledge Graph goes, Google has simply made some design tweaks to the interface for Jellybean, with a beautiful, full-screen look at the increasing database of info accessible from search results.
Google Now is Google’s way of getting you relevant information before you even search for it. Google has been talking about doing something like this for years, and it looks like it’s finally coming to fruition.
Google Now “gets you just the right information at just the right time,” Google says, adding that it does so “automatically.”
If you choose to allow it, Google Now uses your search history, your location history and your calendar to figure out what you might need, when you need it.
For example, Google figures out when you commute from home to work, and back, and will tell you how long your route is, and give you a faster route if there is a lot of traffic. For public transit, it tells you when the next bus or train will arrive. With Google Places, it shows you bars and restaurants around you as you walk down the street, and will recommend things to order at them when you actually go to one.
Google says Google Now will help you get to appointments on time. It will tell you when to leave, based on bus times, and how long it will take to get to the bus stop, how long the bus ride will take, etc. It will tell you if you have an upcoming flight you’ve searched for, and Google will keep you up to date on the status of the flight (delays, cancelations, etc.).
Google Now also keeps track of your favorite sports teams without you having to set your favorites up. “You’ve already done that by searching on Google,” the company says.
Users will be able to access Google Now by tapping on the search box or swiping up from the bottom of the screen.
There are cards that keep tabs on your your various Google Now-related updates. Google says these cards will get smarter as you use them, and they will be adding more cards in time.