Google Now, the excellent personal assistant for Android, has made its way to the iPhone and iPad. Siri may have her work cut out for her as the service comes to iOS as an update of the Google Search app.
What Apple fans get is more or less identical to what has been found on Android devices since 4.1 Jelly Bean, complete with the same relevant and creepily accurate information.
Google Now uses a card system, which pops up to provide information based on your location. All the cards are context-sensitive, appearing only when they're needed. 22 of the 29 information cards on Android are present, with Boarding Pass and Nearby Events cards among those yet to make the jump.
If you use the Google Search app to find a restaurant, for example, Now will produce a card showing you where it is, and how long it will take to get there. This isn't some kind of dark magic: Now uses information from all the Google services you're logged into to in order to produce the relevant information. The more you use Google, the better Now becomes. If a card appears that you don't want, you can just swipe it away.
"We think we've built a great experience," boasted Yamar Yehoshua, Google Now's product manager. "We're giving you an answer before you've even asked. Google is able to predict knowledge that you want before you know you want it."
Not everything has translated to Apple devices. iOS users will not be able to swipe upwards anywhere in their phone to bring up Google Now, like on Android, instead having to be in the Google Search app itself. Neither can Now do a background sync, nor will it be able to push high-priority notifications.
Whether or not Now will make Siri obsolete is unlikely -- having to be in the Search app is a disadvantagebut what is certain is that Google has given away a real reason you might choose Android over iOS. That being said, Now has a distinct advantage over Siri, not only by having fantastic voice recognition, but by being able to provide information before you ask for it.
Though Google has taken a multi-platform approach to Google Now, nothing official has been heard about bringing the personal assistant to your home computer, in spite of rumours as a result of some leaked code, hinting at Now coming to the Google home page. Google Search, which includes Now, has seen over 100 million downloads on Google Play Store.
You can check out Google Now on the App Store for free.
Will Google Now be replacing your Siri? Or will Apple's leading lady win the day? Play your cards in the comments or on our searching Facebook page.