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'Google Now' personal assistant represents search giant's answer to Siri

post #1 of 122
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Even as Google continues to develop voice search functionality for its Android mobile operating system, the company's new Google Now service is a different approach to tackling rival Apple's Siri virtual assistant.

At its Google I/O developer conference this week, Google showcased its new Android 4.1 update, dubbed Jelly Bean, which is set to roll out to consumers in July. Though the update is not a major 1.0 revision as some has expected, it does contain a number of new features, including the Google Now service, improved voice search and a "Project Butter" framework for reducing stutter across the OS.

Android's new voice search adds "cards" that resemble the custom user interfaces that Apple implemented with its own Siri voice-activated personal assistant. According to a side-by-side comparison of voice recognition queries on Google's and Apple's operating systems by PC Mag, Jelly Bean voice search "appears to work at least as well" as Siri.

It's the new predictive Google Now service, however, that could represent the company's true interest in the future of search. Last year, Android boss Andy Rubin said he doesn't believe that phones should "be an assistant" or that users should have to be "communicating with the phone."

Google Now eliminates the need for users to communicate with their phones by automatically detect ing the information a user is likely to need and preparing it ahead of time.

"Instead of having to sift through and organize all the information you need throughout your day, all that information is ready at the exact moment you need it," Google's promo video says.



For instance, the service would pull up weather information before the user left the house, then show traffic information on the commute to work. When a phone recognizes that it's near a bus stop or subway station, Google Now would display upcoming train or bus times. The service can even predict how long it will take for a user to get to their next appointment and send a notification when it's time to leave.

In some aspects, Google Now also mirrors functionality found in Apple's upcoming Passbook app. For instance, Passbook will use location data to automatically provide users with the appropriate card, such as a digital Starbucks membership card or a boarding pass.

Though it remains to be seen whether Google Now will function as promised, the service could condition users to get answers without having to ask for them, effectively bypassing the need for a virtual assistant like Siri or Android's own voice search. Whereas Apple's approach was to design Siri with the quirks and personality that make talking to it feel more like an human interaction, Google Now fits with Android's automated robot scheme.

Android 4.1 Jelly Bean will go out over the air to newer devices, such as the Galaxy Nexus, Motorola Xoom and Nexus S, in the middle of next month and will also be included on the upcoming Nexus 7 tablet from Asus and Google.
post #2 of 122

But will it ever get an update from OEMs and telecoms?

post #3 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Google Now eliminates the need for users to communicate with their phones by automatically detect ing the information a user is likely to need and preparing it ahead of time.

Yeah, good luck with that.

Maybe Google should stop talking about things until they have something to show.
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post #4 of 122

Using it right now on my Galaxy Nexus and it works great. Seems more robust and reliable than Siri

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post #5 of 122

Just let us follow your every move, take note of what you do there... what you buy, drink, eat, and do, and we'll wait a minute what the hell are we proposing?

post #6 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


Yeah, good luck with that.
Maybe Google should stop talking about things until they have something to show.

They did showcase some examples in the keynote. I'm particularly impressed with the public transit schedule aspect of the service as this is something I have taken for granted in iOS maps, but they have taken it to a whole new level by incorporating GPS to know automatically that you are standing at a train platform or a bus station. It also alerts you when to leave by calculating your walking time to get to the station. Their traffic monitoring also looks really advanced. The cards are apparently pre-populated with relevant info although I would imagine it does use a lot of extra data in the background trying to anticipate what you will need next, so if you are on a small data plan you might get a surprise at the end of the month. Definitely not vaporware as you suggest.

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post #7 of 122

I just tried this on my brothers galaxy nexus and siri looks lame now. I mean wow google. 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kDsOtdRtG0Q&feature=plcp

post #8 of 122

Another shitty Google knockoff.

post #9 of 122

only better. It's better than siri and more functional. 

post #10 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

They did showcase some examples in the keynote. I'm particularly impressed with the public transit schedule aspect of the service as this is something I have taken for granted in iOS maps, but they have taken it to a whole new level by incorporating GPS to know automatically that you are standing at a train platform or a bus station. It also alerts you when to leave by calculating your walking time to get to the station. Their traffic monitoring also looks really advanced. The cards are apparently pre-populated with relevant info although I would imagine it does use a lot of extra data in the background trying to anticipate what you will need next, so if you are on a small data plan you might get a surprise at the end of the month. Definitely not vaporware as you suggest.

The concept really useful but based on the video above I have doubts it's as seamless and intelligent as it makes it out to be. I think transit maps would be one of the easier fits for Google but I question how it will know what you want without asking for it. It seems a Siri-like service should come before a predictive digital personal assistant service.


PS: Google has done a great job at I/O. Unlike MS who have no pricing, no real demos, or any release date Google has released many products this week and their Nexus 7 and Q will be released in 2-3 weeks. Whether one thinks they are good products or not is another story, but they certainly out maneuvering MS and nearly every other tech company at this point.

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post #11 of 122
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Originally Posted by bighype View Post

Another shitty Google knockoff.

 

Yep

post #12 of 122
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Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


The concept really useful but based on the video above I have doubts it's as seamless and intelligent as it makes it out to be. I think transit maps would be one of the easier fits for Google but I question how it will know what you want without asking for it.

They were pretty up front about them saving your searches and routines. It learns as you use it sort of like the Nest thermostat claims to do. I certainly wouldn't mind if it asked me a few minutes in advance if I was planning to take the 4:00 PM bus or the 4:30 bus and then doing some comparison data sets in the background.

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post #13 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by bighype View Post

Another shitty Google knockoff.

 

Knockoff? Google has had voice commands ages before Siri.

 

Updating it this just makes it even better. When I woke up this morning there was a card on my screen with the amount of traffic I would run into on my way to work.

 

It's really useful and you don't even have to think about. The data is just there.

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post #14 of 122
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Originally Posted by MaroonMushroom View Post

The data is just there.*

*Data may or may not actually be there. Data availability subject to Internet connection. Fees, terms, and conditions may apply.
post #15 of 122
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Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


*Data may or may not actually be there. Data availability subject to Internet connection. Fees, terms, and conditions may apply.

 

Ummm...would that disclaimer not apply to Siri too?

post #16 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by MaroonMushroom View Post

 

Knockoff? Google has had voice commands ages before Siri.

 

Updating it this just makes it even better. When I woke up this morning there was a card on my screen with the amount of traffic I would run into on my way to work.

 

It's really useful and you don't even have to think about. The data is just there.

 

iPhone's had "voice commands" way before Siri.

 

So why do you think Google is wasting their time on something like this, seeing as how according to Fandroids they've already had it for years?

 

PS How do I get it on my Galaxy Nexus, I thought Jellybean wasn't coming until July?

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post #17 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

They did showcase some examples in the keynote.

When did "they did a few examples in a demo" become equivalent to having a finished project?
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

I'm particularly impressed with the public transit schedule aspect of the service as this is something I have taken for granted in iOS maps, but they have taken it to a whole new level by incorporating GPS to know automatically that you are standing at a train platform or a bus station. It also alerts you when to leave by calculating your walking time to get to the station. Their traffic monitoring also looks really advanced. The cards are apparently pre-populated with relevant info although I would imagine it does use a lot of extra data in the background trying to anticipate what you will need next, so if you are on a small data plan you might get a surprise at the end of the month. Definitely not vaporware as you suggest.

It's not vaporware? Then where can I get the finished product?

You'd think people would have learned after 30 years of personal computer experience that a public demo is staged and scripted. Real life isn't so clean or simple.
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post #18 of 122
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Originally Posted by mstone View Post

They were pretty up front about them saving your searches and routines. It learns as you use it sort of like the Nest thermostat claims to do. I certainly wouldn't mind if it asked me a few minutes in advance if I was planning to take the 4:00 PM bus or the 4:30 bus and then doing some comparison data sets in the background.

That's awesome! I wish Siri learned from its users more.


I also wish Apple would include a specially devised paragraph that each user can read so Siri can build a phoneme database to better understand user's specific speech patterns. On top of of that I'd like Apple to include the cVard sound file option into Contacts so you can train Siri on how to pronounce specific names properly.

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post #19 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

They did showcase some examples in the keynote. I'm particularly impressed with the public transit schedule aspect of the service as this is something I have taken for granted in iOS maps, but they have taken it to a whole new level by incorporating GPS to know automatically that you are standing at a train platform or a bus station. It also alerts you when to leave by calculating your walking time to get to the station. Their traffic monitoring also looks really advanced. The cards are apparently pre-populated with relevant info although I would imagine it does use a lot of extra data in the background trying to anticipate what you will need next, so if you are on a small data plan you might get a surprise at the end of the month. Definitely not vaporware as you suggest.

Not only will the data used surprise you, but the personal data saved, harvested and sold to the highest bidder, as well as the short battery life.
post #20 of 122
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Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


*Data may or may not actually be there. Data availability subject to Internet connection. Fees, terms, and conditions may apply.

*Data just werkz.

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post #21 of 122
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Originally Posted by Jetz View Post

Ummm...would that disclaimer not apply to Siri too?

Of course. He's implying it doesn't to Google.
post #22 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


That's awesome! I wish Siri learned from its users more.
I also wish Apple would include a specially devised paragraph that each user can read so Siri can build a phoneme database to better understand user's specific speech patterns. On top of of that I'd like Apple to include the cVard sound file option into Contacts so you can train Siri on how to pronounce specific names properly.

 

Yes. Go beyond the search bubble... Google Now is a LIFE BUBBLE.

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post #23 of 122
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Originally Posted by Techstalker View Post

I just tried this on my brothers galaxy nexus and siri looks lame now. I mean wow google. 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kDsOtdRtG0Q&feature=plcp

 

Hey why did that guy in the review call it "totally new technology" for Google?

 

According to a whole lot of trolls, Android has had this for years.

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post #24 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


When did "they did a few examples in a demo" become equivalent to having a finished project?
It's not vaporware? Then where can I get the finished product?
You'd think people would have learned after 30 years of personal computer experience that a public demo is staged and scripted. Real life isn't so clean or simple.

Give me a break. It is no different than Apple has done for years of keynotes. Available same day for developers and available to the general public in 2 weeks. 

 

Your predudice is remarkable even for a rabid Apple fan. It works as advertised according to those who have installed it. I have not installed it since I don't have an Android phone but given the 'demos' of Apple's glorious new maps solution I may have the need to try JB out very soon as what I've seen so far of Apple's vaporware looks very discouraging.


Edited by mstone - 6/28/12 at 7:37pm

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post #25 of 122
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Originally Posted by Techstalker View Post

I just tried this on my brothers galaxy nexus and siri looks lame now. I mean wow google. 

 

 

Still driving that Pontiac Aztek?

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post #26 of 122
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Originally Posted by FreeRange View Post


Not only will the data used surprise you, but the personal data saved, harvested and sold to the highest bidder...

You mean like Siri records and stores each of your searches and requests for some unspecified time-frame? Siri is at it's roots a search engine. Like most other search engines it harvests data from both your device and personal search requests to "offer an improved user experience". Google Now is not any different probably

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post #27 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

 

iPhone's had "voice commands" way before Siri.

 

So why do you think Google is wasting their time on something like this, seeing as how according to Fandroids they've already had it for years?

 

PS How do I get it on my Galaxy Nexus, I thought Jellybean wasn't coming until July?

 

It's faster and more robust now. I can search for movie times, sports stats, algebra questions etc etc. Yes we've had it for years, but now it's even better.

 

There are at least 4 builds of Jelly Bean available on XDA. I've had mine since day 1.

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post #28 of 122
I've now watched two videos on Google's new service, with one being a comparison. While it's possible to make Siri slower so the Now wins every round I don't have any reason to suspect that there was any foul play.

I also like how Now will show you web results on the front page instead of having you hit web search or say 'yes' and then wait for Safari to load. I have to say that I'm quite impressed with Google's effort here. If anyone was going to challenge Apple on this front it was going to be Google but I didn't think it would be so soon.

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post #29 of 122
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Originally Posted by FreeRange View Post


Not only will the data used surprise you, but the personal data saved, harvested and sold to the highest bidder, as well as the short battery life.

You can avoid Google altogether if you wish.

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post #30 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by MaroonMushroom View Post

 

Knockoff? Google has had voice commands ages before Siri.

 

Updating it this just makes it even better. When I woke up this morning there was a card on my screen with the amount of traffic I would run into on my way to work.

 

It's really useful and you don't even have to think about. The data is just there.

Just remember, with Google you are the product!  I wouldn't want Googs knowing that that was important to me. Sure, every little piece of the picture might be innocuous but as a whole...

 

If you trust Google with your information, then good luck!

 

Oh, and I was using voice commands on my Mac many years ago but this is not what Siri is about! (You know that though - right?)

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post #31 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

 If anyone was going to challenge Apple on this front it was going to be Google but I didn't think it would be so soon.

I've found Google to understand my voice better than any other voice recognition platform out there and there could be a slight accent issue as well in both of my languages.

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post #32 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by MaroonMushroom View Post

 

It's faster and more robust now. I can search for movie times, sports stats, algebra questions etc etc. Yes we've had it for years, but now it's even better.

 

There are at least 4 builds of Jelly Bean available on XDA. I've had mine since day 1.

So I have to root my phone.

 

Hey did you know, here in Australia, 'root' is slang for f u c k.

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post #33 of 122
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Originally Posted by mstone View Post

You can avoid Google altogether if you wish.

Just don't use the Internet at all! Simple!
post #34 of 122
So where are the people saying that Google is artificially limiting Google Now from running on phones with older versions of Android OS and arguing that there are no resources needed to run the service.

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post #35 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by MaroonMushroom View Post

 

It's faster and more robust now. I can search for movie times, sports stats, algebra questions etc etc. Yes we've had it for years, but now it's even better.

 

There are at least 4 builds of Jelly Bean available on XDA. I've had mine since day 1.

 

Is "Maroon Mushroom" the mycological version of "Astroturf?"

Sure sounds like it.

Your post sound like it was cut and pasted from a Google keynote transcript!

 

"Yes, we've had it for years, but now it's even better!"

LOL

post #36 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by MaroonMushroom View Post

 

Knockoff? Google has had voice commands ages before Siri.

 

Updating it this just makes it even better. When I woke up this morning there was a card on my screen with the amount of traffic I would run into on my way to work.

 

It's really useful and you don't even have to think about. The data is just there.

Hahahha.... another Googledrone is trying to tell us that Google invented Siri before Apple made it popular.

 

Seriously, you're delusional or you're just a TROLL.

post #37 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

The service can even predict how long it will take for a user to get to their next appointment and send a notification when it's time to leave.

 

So it's not just AI... it's psychic? It knows if I plan to walk, cycle or drive, or if I have any plans to stop on the way or if I want to arrive early?

post #38 of 122

I love apple as much as the next person, but as a lover of technology. Goole now makes siri look like a joke. I hope Apple comes out improves siri to make it as functional as Google now. 

post #39 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quintius View Post

So it's not just AI... it's psychic? It knows if I plan to walk, cycle or drive, or if I have any plans to stop on the way or if I want to arrive early?

It knows once you start moving. GPS and all.

Yes, I imagine it IS tracking your movements.
post #40 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


When did "they did a few examples in a demo" become equivalent to having a finished project?
It's not vaporware? Then where can I get the finished product?
You'd think people would have learned after 30 years of personal computer experience that a public demo is staged and scripted. Real life isn't so clean or simple.

so Microsoft staged and scripted Surface crashing in their live demo? who'd a thunk it!

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