'Google Now' Released Today for iPhone and iPad

Google's "predictive search" technology enables your device to intuit what you need and search for it without your even having to ask. That technology debuted last year on Android devices, and as of today, it's available on the iPhone and iPad in the free Google Search app. Google's biggest competitor to Siri, Google Now senses what you need and automatically gives it to you on a "card" that pops up from the bottom of the screen. For example, if you're heading to work, it will automatically pop up a card with a traffic update. Or if you're planning to take a flight, it will automatically pop up a card if there are changes to your flight. Google's tagline for the app is, "Right info at the right time."

There's one big difference between how the app works on Android devices versus iPhones and iPads. On Android, the popup cards appear no matter what app you're in, whereas with iOS devices, you need to have the Google Search app open. If there's an update available, a tab appears at the bottom of the screen. If you touch the tab, the relevant popup cards slide up into view. Once you've finished with a card, say the traffic updates, you just swipe left or right and it disappears. When you download today's update to the app, it opens with a brief tutorial.

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In addition to directions, traffic, and flight updates, the app also has cards for stocks, weather, live sports scores, public transit, currency converter, translation, and your Google data such as Google Calendar.

You can read a detailed review on CNET.

I've long been impressed with Google's offering, and now it's better. With its speech recognition, and newfound intelligence, it's a worthy competitor to Siri.

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Jim Karpen holds a Ph.D. in literature and writing, and has a love of gizmos. His doctoral dissertation focused on the revolutionary consequences of digital technologies and anticipated some of the developments taking place in the industry today. Jim has been writing about the Internet and technology since 1994 and has been using Apple's visionary products for decades.