As much as it pains me to admit it I’m really enjoying Google Now. I’m aware of how much information I’m sharing with Google to make it helpful but at the moment I find the tradeoff worth it.
It came in especially useful as I’ve been traveling over the past couple of weeks:
- Show the official exchange rate when traveling. This may not be perfect, especially in the case of “blue markets,” but it’s nice having a rough idea of how much a US dollar is worth.
- Flight information. Since my flight details get sent to my Gmail account, I can quickly tell whether my flight’s delayed and what terminal and gate it’s scheduled to depart from and arrive to. This is useful to have when I need to make a transfer since I can quickly see where my next flight departs from.
- Flight boarding passes. In addition to the flight information Google Now also shows the boarding passes for my checked in flights. I didn’t have to do anything to board a plane other than activate my home screen and place it against a scanner.
- Hotel information. Similar to flight information, I get a card telling me where my hotel is and how to get there.
- Google calendar integration. This is an obvious one but I run my life through Google calendar. This gives me constant notifications of what I have to do when and as long as I enter an address for my events I also get an estimate for when I should leave.
A concern is that to actually make it useful I have to integrate more and more of my world with Google and I expect this to get worse as more Google Now cards are developed. The optimist in me hopes that Google Now will be opened up to third party developers in a future version of Android but the cynic suspects it’s not going to happen.