Google has updated its search app for iOS to version 3, adding a tool that until this point was available only on devices running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean or better — Google Now. Now adds some impressive features to your device. As Google notes, it adds “the right information, at just the right time” to your iPhone or iPad.
Back in March, a very official-looking promo video for Google Now on iOS leaked out. The same video is prominently featured in the new version of Google’s app, so it seems that it was legit.
To enable Google Now, update or install the Google Search app, sign in and then swipe up from the bottom of the display screen. Google includes a short video explaining how the app works, providing “cards” full of contexual information where and when you need it.
If you’re about to drive to work, the app can tell you how long it’s going to take to get there and route you around traffic. If you’re near a public transit station, you may get information on when the next train leaves, and if you’re heading out on a trip you may well see your flight info displayed in a card.
Google’s powering Now by looking into your data on other Google services (calendar, search, contacts and maps among them) so if this sort of oversight makes you twitchy, you can choose not to turn the Now capability on in the search app.
Voice search has improved in the new app. Previously, users could tap a microphone icon to enter search terms; not that exciting, really. Now you can pretty much ask Google Now anything and get responses almost immediately — the service both seems to understand your requests better and responds faster than Apple’s own Siri, so it will be a great addition to the iPhone for those of us who like to carry on conversations with our handheld devices.