How to: use Google Now
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.
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