or Connect
AppleInsider › Forums › General › General Discussion › Google calls reports of Google Now for iOS battery drain 'incorrect'
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Google calls reports of Google Now for iOS battery drain 'incorrect'

post #1 of 62
Thread Starter 
In a written response to a recent outcry over Google Now's alleged battery-draining location tracking feature, the search giant claims reports of the abnormal behavior are incorrect as it uses low-power positioning assets that don't rely on power-hungry GPS.

Now


Google's statement, first posted on LifeHacker, takes note of the extensive testing an app goes through before Google releases it to the public. While clearly explained, the company does not want any misperceptions about the much-awaited feature coming to iOS, with the response starting out with some rather strong words.

From the statement:

Reports that Google Now drains battery life are incorrect. We understand people?s concern about seeing the Location Services icon stay on when they use Google Now. Many apps that keep the icon on actually do drain the phone?s battery because they require very accurate location. (For example a navigation app has to run your GPS all the time to keep you from missing your turn.) Google Now is built very differently: it uses cell towers and wifi hot spots for much lower battery impact.


While true, the app is still using radio assets an iPhone wouldn't tap into during normal use. Google is correct in saying power consumption is nowhere near GPS usage levels, but Google Now is still adding to the battery duties with its positioning services.

The statment continues:

We extensively tested Google Now on iOS for months and didn?t see reports of significant battery impact ? we would encourage you to try it in the Google Search app for a few days and we don?t expect you to see significant impact on your battery. If you are seeing a problem, please do tell us (just tap feedback in the app settings). We take user feedback very seriously.


Google added the Google Now service to its Google Search iOS app on Monday, bringing automatic delivery of weather and traffic conditions for a user's most-traveled routes, real-time sports score and news updates, and flight times or delays. Other information includes local nightlife, special events and even real estate data. Everything is presented in "cards" that appear at the bottom of the app's home screen when a user needs it based on location and time based presets.

As noted in the app's description as seen in the App Store(emphasis added):

To provide up-to-the-minute information, Google Now turns on Location Services. Even though the icon stays on,

the app has minimal battery impact:

? The app doesn?t turn on the GPS. Instead, it receives passive updates from nearby cell towers and WIFI hot spots.
? If your battery is running low, the app pauses location updates.
? The app stays asleep unless your device moves a long distance.

For users seeing continued problems, the solution described on a number of forums is to disable Google Search's Location Services from within the iOS Settings menu.
post #2 of 62

Edited by SolipsismX - 5/2/13 at 2:15pm

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply
post #3 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by gwmac View Post

I have used it quite a lot since I updated and have not noticed any difference in battery life. It is easily one of my top 5 most used apps.

 

It only drains the battery down during the install process when it's sucking all your personal info out of the handset. After that it acts normal because it can steal while you're inputting the new personal data. 

 

Nothing to see here... keep moving along.

"That (the) world is moving so quickly that iOS is already amongst the older mobile operating systems in active development today." — The Verge
Reply
"That (the) world is moving so quickly that iOS is already amongst the older mobile operating systems in active development today." — The Verge
Reply
post #4 of 62
So people complain about google draining battery? Why does Google need it in first place(location)??????
post #5 of 62
I think they are right: the location services aren't draining the battery, it's the constant contact with advertisers that's doing the draining.
post #6 of 62
It's the user's lack of intelligence that sucks the life out of anything smart
post #7 of 62

You're holding it wrong.  /s

   Apple develops an improved programming language.  Google copied Java.  Everything you need to know, right there.

 

  MA497LL/A FB463LL/A MC572LL/A FC060LL/A MD481LL/A MD388LL/A ME344LL/A

Reply

   Apple develops an improved programming language.  Google copied Java.  Everything you need to know, right there.

 

  MA497LL/A FB463LL/A MC572LL/A FC060LL/A MD481LL/A MD388LL/A ME344LL/A

Reply
post #8 of 62
"The app stays asleep unless your device moves a long distance."

How will the app know if it has moved a long distance? Wouldn't it have to be on?

Anyhow, I used it, and it's great, but I was losing about 15% of my battery life every hour. I turned location tracking off, but the app is not nearly as useful.
post #9 of 62
Just dont install it. Problem solved.
post #10 of 62
Go Google! Track every movement and make tons of money with/without regards to privacy.

I will eat your dog! If you have cat, I will eat that too!

Reply

I will eat your dog! If you have cat, I will eat that too!

Reply
post #11 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Curtis Hannah View Post

So people complain about google draining battery? Why does Google need it in first place(location)??????

 

So they know where you work and where you live and where you hangout.

   Apple develops an improved programming language.  Google copied Java.  Everything you need to know, right there.

 

  MA497LL/A FB463LL/A MC572LL/A FC060LL/A MD481LL/A MD388LL/A ME344LL/A

Reply

   Apple develops an improved programming language.  Google copied Java.  Everything you need to know, right there.

 

  MA497LL/A FB463LL/A MC572LL/A FC060LL/A MD481LL/A MD388LL/A ME344LL/A

Reply
post #12 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Macky the Macky View Post

 

It only drains the battery down during the install process when it's sucking all your personal info out of the handset. After that it acts normal because it can steal while you're inputting the new personal data. 

 

Nothing to see here... keep moving along.

 

Time to put on your tinfoil hat

post #13 of 62
This definitely drains the battery. I installed it on Tuesday and by midday Wednesday my battery was under 50% without using it much.

I saw the locations service icon up and checked in settings and it was Google. I checked open apps to turn it off and it wasn't even in there! So I opened and closed it, the location services icon was still on. Uninstalled the app and it went away
post #14 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

? The app doesn?t turn on the GPS. Instead, it receives passive updates from nearby cell towers and WIFI hot spots.
? If your battery is running low, the app pauses location updates.
? The app stays asleep unless your device moves a long distance..

If that works as advertised, it sounds like a good design.
How to enter the Apple logo  on iOS:
/Settings/Keyboard/Shortcut and paste in  which you copied from an email draft or a note. Screendump
Reply
How to enter the Apple logo  on iOS:
/Settings/Keyboard/Shortcut and paste in  which you copied from an email draft or a note. Screendump
Reply
post #15 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post

If that works as advertised, it sounds like a good design.

I've recently started to notice this low power usage. Another app, shopkick, does this, too. And just recently, so is it something new to iOS? Have to assume it was part if iOS 6, but took a while to get developers on board. It is a bit alarming when you see the location arrow on 24/7, but haven't noticed any significant loss of battery with now two apps "always on" for location services. Seems like if the developer built the app right, Apple has provided a useful tool.

To give a sense of the drain, significantly less than Bluetooth uses.
post #16 of 62
Finally.

"Googlegate".
If you value privacy you can now set DuckDuckGo as your default search engine in iOS and OS X.
Reply
If you value privacy you can now set DuckDuckGo as your default search engine in iOS and OS X.
Reply
post #17 of 62

I need a Google account to use it?

 

Pass.

post #18 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by GTR View Post

Finally.

"Googlegate".

^this^

post #19 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

? If your battery is running low, the

app pauses location updates.

 

Why do this if the App is not draining the battery?


Edited by hill60 - 5/2/13 at 4:26pm
Better than my Bose, better than my Skullcandy's, listening to Mozart through my LeBron James limited edition PowerBeats by Dre is almost as good as my Sennheisers.
Reply
Better than my Bose, better than my Skullcandy's, listening to Mozart through my LeBron James limited edition PowerBeats by Dre is almost as good as my Sennheisers.
Reply
post #20 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by John.B View Post

 

So they know where you work and where you live and where you hangout.

It knows when you are sleeping; it knows when you are awake,

It knows when you've been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake...

"That (the) world is moving so quickly that iOS is already amongst the older mobile operating systems in active development today." — The Verge
Reply
"That (the) world is moving so quickly that iOS is already amongst the older mobile operating systems in active development today." — The Verge
Reply
post #21 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by hughjaas View Post

"The app stays asleep unless your device moves a long distance."

How will the app know if it has moved a long distance? Wouldn't it have to be on?

 

No, the app isn't running.  The OS itself watches for a cell id change, which takes very, very little extra power to do.  Here, this should help:

 

Quote:

Starting the Significant-Change Location Service

 

In iOS 4.0 and later, you can use the significant-change location service to receive location events. This service offers a significant power savings and provides accuracy that is good enough for most apps. It uses the device’s cellular radio to determine the user’s location and report changes in that location, allowing the system to manage power usage much more aggressively than it could otherwise. This service is also capable of waking up an app that is currently suspended or not running in order to deliver new location data.

- Location Awareness Programming - Apple iOS SDK

 

Often, when people have extra battery usage after installing an app like this, it's because they're playing with or checking it more often.


Edited by KDarling - 5/2/13 at 4:52pm
post #22 of 62
No, no, no!

You forgot to say something nasty about the subject of the post, like you normally do!

Google is evil!

And doomed!
If you value privacy you can now set DuckDuckGo as your default search engine in iOS and OS X.
Reply
If you value privacy you can now set DuckDuckGo as your default search engine in iOS and OS X.
Reply
post #23 of 62
Very simple to check. All a Developer needs to do is set up a dev iPad/iPhone slave it off their dev box, run Wireshark and see what sorts of background threads are running that should not be running, which use CPU/GPU cycles, even WiFi connectivity cycles and they can find out just how these apps are really working.
post #24 of 62
I don't have it and won't install anything Google, but my co-worker installed it and complained about the battery life later in the day even before complaints came out and he was going by battery life not the Location Services icon. Strange!!
post #25 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by agramonte View Post

 

Time to put on your tinfoil hat

 

Why, does it help to keep Google out of my personal data space?

post #26 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Macky the Macky View Post

It knows when you are sleeping; it knows when you are awake,

It knows when you've been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake...

 

Excellent advice for the "don't be evil" guys… who are they again?

post #27 of 62
Well, Google also said may things that were later proved otherwise...

Just don't use it, unless you wanted to be tracked.
post #28 of 62

I have uninstalled this app from both my ipad and iphone. I does drain the battery thanks to it constantly checking the location of the device. Google should know better than to do this. The software should only do a location check when the user refreshes the app. 

post #29 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by mp1963 View Post

I have uninstalled this app from both my ipad and iphone. I does drain the battery thanks to it constantly checking the location of the device. Google should know better than to do this. The software should only do a location check when the user refreshes the app. 

You can easily do this in the app. Both Hoogle and this article tell you exactly how to.
post #30 of 62
My iPhone has been running hot and draining battery faster than usual lately, and there are no Google apps at all on it. Personally, my suspicion is with Facebook's latest Faces update, and that perhaps while people ran out to install Google's software they also tended to update that at the same time?

In any case, if your iPhone is warm to the touch when you're not playing a game, double-tap the home button, hold down on the icons in the lower bar, and start closing them. In theory iOS is supposed to prevent background apps from abusing the system, but in theory no software has any bugs, too.
post #31 of 62
My iPhone has been running hot and draining battery faster than usual lately, and there are no Google apps at all on it. Personally, my suspicion is with Facebook's latest Faces update, and that perhaps while people ran out to install Google's software they also tended to update that at the same time?

In any case, if your iPhone is warm to the touch when you're not playing a game, double-tap the home button, hold down on the icons in the lower bar, and start closing them. In theory iOS is supposed to prevent background apps from abusing the system, but in theory no software has any bugs, too.
post #32 of 62

Of course it's going to drain your battery if you keep using it all day, asking stupid questions comparing it to siri, what app want drain your battery after using all day? People make a big deal out of nothing. I've had this app since it first came out and don't notice any difference in the battery life. 

post #33 of 62

Remember, Google is just using the iOS API that watches for relatively major location changes via cell / hotspot,

 

Watching for cell id changes is normally virtually free.  The phone is constantly talking to a tower anyway, and the OS only has to do something if the id changes.  

 

So there could be a couple of reasons why battery usage might be higher for some people and not others:

 

1. Your phone is switching between cell sites.  This obviously happens if traveling, but it can even occur simply from walking around inside a building.  Each time the id changes, the OS must be woken up to restart any location registered apps.

 

2. Your phone cannot see a cell site, and thus is relying on checking WiFi hotspots, which might use more power, depending on how the OS is written.

 

3. A combination.  Say, a school where some spots have no cell coverage, and the OS must switch modes between cell id and hotspot.  This is just a guess though.


Edited by KDarling - 5/3/13 at 5:28am
post #34 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by KDarling View Post

Remember, Google is just using the iOS API that watches for relatively major location changes via cell / hotspot, ... This is just a guess though.

Thought you'd throw that last bit in if someone called your BS? So, basically, as usual for you, you're just making stuff up. I think the people guessing that Google is reporting your whereabouts and sending data on your phone back to the hive are more likely correct. Eventually they'll tell us it was inadvertent, then we'll find out everything they've said publicly was, as usual, a brazen lie.
post #35 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by KDarling View Post

Remember, Google is just using the iOS API that watches for relatively major location changes via cell / hotspot,

 

Watching for cell id changes is normally virtually free.  The phone is constantly talking to a tower anyway, and the OS only has to do something if the id changes.  

 

So there could be a couple of reasons why battery usage might be higher for some people and not others:

 

1. Your phone is switching between cell sites.  This obviously happens if traveling, but it can even occur simply from walking around inside a building.  Each time the id changes, the OS must be woken up to restart any location registered apps.

 

2. Your phone cannot see a cell site, and thus is relying on checking WiFi hotspots, which might use more power, depending on how the OS is written.

 

3. A combination.  Say, a school where some spots have no cell coverage, and the OS must switch modes between cell id and hotspot.  This is just a guess though.

 

While you are technically right I think 

 

In contrast to some other APIs the core location framework isn't very stringent in order not to limit functionality of location based services and GPS apps.

 

It's up to the devs to use it's functionality wisely in order to reduce battery drain to a necessary minimum. High frequent tracking with a combination of GPS, cell towers, wifi hotspots is expensive and I think in this case It's simply not necessary.

 

For Google Now searches a location value, determined once before, or at the time a command is invoked would be enough in my opinion.

You can also e.g. just check whether you are still on the same wifi network, or the device is still approximately in the same area. 

You don't have to pull location data again and again. In addition I think that Google Now doesn't need this continuos location tracking to do what the user expects it to do.

It also doesn't need running in the background because it's meant for direct user interaction. 

 

Some well put explanation from Shawn Welch: http://www.peachpit.com/articles/article.aspx?p=1830485&seqNum=2

 

"By default, your app will not run the standard location service as a background process. The standard location service significantly impacts your user’s battery life if left running. Even if the location manager is not sending new locations to the delegate, the standard location service still continuously monitors a user’s location to determine when the distance filter threshold is crossed. Unless the information generated is relevant to a user’s current task, it’s recommended that you disable this service for performance reasons. If you’re doing a simple calculation for search purposes, you should turn off the standard location service as soon as you receive your first location update."

I'm sure there's some space for improvement. 

post #36 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by igriv View Post

 

An obvious question: does this mean that if you have this on a WiFi only device (an iPad, say), than this functionality is not available? Every time I turn off Wifi (on my LTE device) iOS chides me that this will make location services less accurate, so is there some other hack for WiFi, or you, who are so wise in the ways of science?

FWIW Google Now works just fine on a WiFi only Nexus 7. I'd be fairly surprised if it won't do as well on WiFi only iPads.

melior diabolus quem scies
Reply
melior diabolus quem scies
Reply
post #37 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

FWIW Google Now works just fine on a WiFi only Nexus 7. I'd be fairly surprised if it won't do as well on WiFi only iPads.

 

The WiFi only Nexus 7s have GPS receivers. The WiFi only iPads do not.

post #38 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by stike vomit View Post

 

The WiFi only Nexus 7s have GPS receivers. The WiFi only iPads do not.

Oh...

you're right. I hadn't noted that before. Thanks!

melior diabolus quem scies
Reply
melior diabolus quem scies
Reply
post #39 of 62

Google is a rival to Apple.  A trojan horse should not surprise anyone.  Google no longer pushes there mail service to the iOS mail app on our i-devices.  Funny as these things have been done before.  How many of you know that we can thank Bill Gates and Microsoft for the second coming of Steve Jobs to Apple?

 

There was a time when Netscape and Microsoft were in a war for web browser dominance.  At that time Microsoft made internet explorer for the Mac.  Little did many know that internet explorer was the cause of the crashing of the Apple OS.  With Apple's OS being trashed they needed a new OS and that is when they purchased Next and Jobs came back to Apple.  And as they, the rest is history.

 

If you are concerned with Google, check out some of the nice new apps from Yahoo!.

 

1biggrin.gif

post #40 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by igriv View Post

What the heck are you talking about? Google regularly pushes my gmail to my iOS mail app, so maybe it just hates you personally?

1) Learn the difference between push and pull.

2) Back in December Google announced that the Microsoft Exchange support offered with Google Sync would be removed. That support ended January 30, 2013. For those who are using the Gmail push notification feature on existing hardware, there's no cause for concern as Google has grandfathered in your accounts. However, when you get a new iOS device through an upgrade or replacement, you'll find that you can no longer receive instant push notifications for Gmail accounts.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: General Discussion
AppleInsider › Forums › General › General Discussion › Google calls reports of Google Now for iOS battery drain 'incorrect'