News by Andrew Kameka on Tuesday November 05, 2013.
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The Google Search app for iOS, which contains the Apple iPhone and iPad version of Google Now, has been updated to include several new features, including the ability to get notifications and have hands-free options when within the app.
The update finally delivers the ability to get push notifications, one of the most valuable features of using Google Now. When Google Now was included in Search last year, I noted that the app fell short because it lacked the capability to show contextual information for reminders based on locations or calendars unless someone launched the app. The addition of push notifications now makes it possible for Google to notify someone when it's time to go to the train station if he or she hopes to make it to an appointment in time. The same is true for notifications about flight delays, weather advisories, and other information.
Reminders now makes it possible to have Google set-up reminders based on time or location. Google Search can provide personal reminders for to-do list items; appear when near a location, like a store or office; or when a favorite TV show is going to air. The reminders also appear as push notifications.
Google has tried to make the iPhone and iPad versions of Google Now as good as they are on Android, and part of that strategy includes adding new cards for travel information and upcoming events. Google has also made it possible to trigger hands-free search with "OK Google" voice commands, but the prompt works only within the app, which severely limits its usefulness. The only benefit to adding this is that someone can ask follow-up questions without having to touch a device multiple times. The "OK Google" command requires an iPhone 4S or later to work.
Andrew is MobileBurn.com's managing editor. He is based in Miami, Florida.