How to: use Google Now

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Gadgets -

SOME new ver­sions of Google’s phone and tablet soft­ware have hid­den depths. The com­pany qui­etly in­tro­duced an ‘‘in­tel­li­gent per­sonal as­sis­tant’’ app with its An­droid Jelly Bean soft­ware and Google Now can be so ef­fec­tive it’s spooky. The ser­vice de­liv­ers users vir­tual cards that alert them to use­ful in­for­ma­tion from travel times to nearby con­certs.

Set­ting it up

Google Now is avail­able for tablets and smart­phones us­ing Jelly Bean soft­ware, ver­sion 4.1 and above. It ap­pears in the Google Search app and features a Search bar at the top of the screen and ‘‘cards’’ be­neath. Users can set pref­er­ences for each of th­ese cards by tap­ping the three dots be­side them and en­ter­ing the Set­tings menu.

What can it do?

Google Now’s vir­tual cards de­liver many things, start­ing with the tem­per­a­ture and weather forecast at your lo­ca­tion. The ser­vice can also track your lo­ca­tion and of­fer sug­ges­tions for nearby restau­rants, in­clud­ing menu de­tails and open­ing hours. Google Now au­to­mat­i­cally de­ter­mines your home and work ad­dresses (you can edit th­ese) and de­liv­ers travel es­ti­mates based on lat­est traf­fic con­di­tions. When com­bined with Google Cal­en­dar, this app can alert users to the best time to leave one lo­ca­tion to ar­rive on time at an­other.

Ex­tra cards

Users can ask Google Now for ex­tra in­for­ma­tion, from de­tails about their favourite sports teams to bands. It does not in­clude AFL, NRL or A-League teams, but Pre­mier League is rep­re­sented. A Con­certs card can pop up when saved artists hold con­certs near your lo­ca­tion and, if a flight con­fir­ma­tion ap­pears in your Gmail in­box, this app will track it. JEN­NIFER DUD­LEYNI­CHOL­SON

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