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Google Now reaches iPhone and iPad

Updated Google Search now includes "Now" functionality, bringing with it many of Android's cards

In a surprising move by Google, the company is bringing Google Now functions to iOS, while ending its Android exclusivity in the process. Available as part of  the Google Search application, the update can currently be downloaded through the App Store, although it lacks the integration found in its Android counterpart.

Google Now was introduced as part of Android Jelly Bean 4.1, and organizes the user's various activities through the use of pop-up "cards". The cards are intended to answer search questions before the user asks, and work by searching through emails, appointments and GPS data. Examples of its abilities include displaying flight status based on email itineraries, locating and recommending nearby restaurants, and automatically activating the GPS for daily commutes. 

One of Google Now's biggest draws on Android is its seamless integration with the operating system, but that capability is unfortunately not available with the iOS version. Users will have to open the application each time they want to access the cards, and push notifications are not currently included. Of course, that is to be expected as a result of Apple's stringent application rules, and it will have to be seen how Google tackles this issue in the future.


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Omar Qudsi, 2013-04-29 (Update: 2021-05-18)