" />

More updates released for Google Now, but the app’s biggest flaw remains unfixed

More updates released for Google Now, but the app’s biggest flaw remains unfixed

Google Now has come a long way in such a short space of time. What was initially described as a lite version of Apple’s Siri is now one of the outstanding features on Google’s Android OS.  And today the company announced another series of updates to the app, the fourth major update to the service in six months.

But let’s discuss the most significant update to the app, the new home and lock screen widget, and how this relates to the app’s most significant remaining flaw, it’s lack of visibility.

Activating the Google Now service has always been, and still is, a bit of a confused process.  With Jelly Bean, Google has given users at least four ways of loading Google Now;

  1. By selecting the Google Search app,
  2. Swiping up from the bottom of the screen,
  3. Clicking on the Google Search widget,
  4. Holding the Home button and selecting the Google Search icon.

The availability of these varies depending on your version of Android and whether you have a tablet or smartphone.

Yet with all these activation options Google has never just given users the ability to select an icon on their phone simply called “Google Now.” Instead this killer app is hidden behind differently named apps or nondescript widgets.

Google Now widget lock screen

Google Now widget lock screen

So, because of this Google Now has pretty much been something that casual Android users have looked past.  With this latest release Google is addressing this, to some degree, by making a Google Now widget available to users; which they can place on their device’s home and/or lock screen.

The widget itself provides the same information as the Google Now app but without the need to activate the app directly. This is great but something that we would have hoped to have seen a while back.

And even within the app Google has a lot of work to do to make sure that all of its features are clearly visible and accessible to all.  For example, take the “Search by Camera” feature which was launched as part of Google Now’s update back in December.

While the Search by Camera feature is essentially a copy of that which is available in Google Goggles’ app it is a very powerful and fun way to search for content (the feature activates your camera and allows you to search for items by visually recognising barcodes, idents, geographic features etc). But you can only use it by selecting the secondary menu icon on your device.

Google says that this is the fourth update of Google Now since its launch in the Summer of 2012 and we have seen its features grow and grow but hopefully with the fifth update we’ll also see the app’s visibility equally increase so more users get a chance to actually use it.

Click to add a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Piers Dillon-Scott is co-editor of The Sociable and writes about stuff he finds. He likes technology, media, and using the Oxford comma (because it just makes sense).

More in Technology

SaaS ottawa

AI will be major focus at Canada’s largest SaaS gathering in Ottawa

Tim HinchliffeNovember 20, 2017
systems transactions

The systems, securities and solutions behind your everyday transactions

Ben AllenNovember 20, 2017
wifi krack

What WiFi’s KRACK attack means for you and what you can do about it: interview

Sam Brake GuiaNovember 20, 2017
hearts and arrows

Hearts and Arrows Diamonds – What Makes Them So Popular?

Kavinesh ArumugamNovember 16, 2017
cancer ai

First coding and now cancer, AI is transforming the healthcare industry

Nishtha SinghNovember 16, 2017
logistics amazon

3 Logistics Startups Helping Businesses Stay Competitive in the Amazon Era

Zac LavalNovember 14, 2017
zuckerberg president

Zuckerberg is running for president, even if he never runs: KU interview analysis

Ben AllenNovember 13, 2017
bitcoin blockchain

Trust no one: the story of Blockchain and Bitcoin

Omar ElorfalyNovember 10, 2017
entrepreneur, restaurant, lyft, startup

The entrepreneur who became a Lyft driver to conduct customer research: interview

Ben AllenNovember 9, 2017