How Does Google Now Work?

Hey everyone! This week, I’m going to cover how Google Now works and some of the incredible features that it has, as well as how it can help you.

Eric Escobar
4-minute read
Episode #179

If you’re not familiar with Google Now, it’s similar to Apple’s Siri, and Microsoft’s Cortana. It has many commands or questions that you simply say, such as: What is the weather like today?; How many ounces in a pound?; and, What are the names of the seven dwarves?

However, a month ago, Google announced a new feature for Google Now called “Now on Tap.” Basically, this new feature, which will be available in Android’s next operating system Android M, gives Google the ability to determine the context of the question you are asking.

The goal of this new feature is to deliver information to users proactively or without them even asking for the information. Google tries to anticipate your actions to better deliver information, and to make you aware of potentially useful information ahead of time.

OK, so how does it actually work? If you’re using an Android device, you tap the ‘home’ button while you have an email, text message, or other program open, and Now on Tap will use that context to answer your question or deliver you information. It will scan the text on the screen and toss it into a Google search and spit out what it is it thinks you may want to know.

It feeds this information back to you in the form of cards on the screen. If there’s multiple things it thinks you may want, it will pull up multiple cards. For example, if you wanted information on a Hawaiian vacation, it might bring up a card on great resorts, a card for flight information, and another card for an extended babysitter.

Let’s take a look though at how the whole process works though. This is much easier to understand with a simple example. Say my wife were to text me what she wanted for dinner. A simple tap of the home button with the text message open would interpret that I may need to find out what ingredients I need, as well as the closest grocery store and maybe even some coupons.

The same might be the case if a friend were to email me about seeing a movie after work. A tap of the home button would activate Now on Tap. This would bring up trailers, movie times, movie reviews, and any other relevant information.

The really nice part about this feature, though, is that Google will only turn the feature on if you press the home button. This means that Google isn’t sitting there constantly watching and evaluating your data. It also doesn’t keep any information on your Now on Tap requests on its servers.


About the Author

Eric Escobar

Tech Talker demystifies technology and cutting edge devices so that even the most tech illiterate can understand what's going on with their computer or gadget — and what to do when something goes wrong.

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