Google Now, Part II

I can’t believe it was 2 whole years ago that I gave Google Now an honest try. I thought I’d try it again and see if there was any improvements to the service. So far, it doesn’t look like there were many.

What’s helpful:

  • I like getting driving directions with traffic conditions for upcoming appointments in my calendar. This of course required me to add in addresses to everything in the calendar that required traveling.
    • I do sometimes want to get somewhere a few minutes early, so this also required me to update events to build in a few minutes of slack time for a more helpful “leave by x time” prompt.
  • I like the weather reports.
  • I like the stock prices from my Google Finance portfolio.
  • The “ok Google” command to navigate somewhere is better than fumbling around.
  • I like seeing package tracking from e-mail confirmations in Gmail.

What’s ‘meh:

  • Sports scores and upcoming games.

What could be helpful, but isn’t:

  • I like that it has commute time from home to work and work to home, but  like I wrote about in the past, I rarely go straight home or to work. Rather I might drop off or pick up my son from daycare. They should have “routes” built in. Perhaps ask a question “are you going straight to work to day?” then give the travel time, etc. Otherwise let me choose a route with stops, then give the traffic details and estimated times.

What’s confusing:

  • I get what they are trying to do with “where I parked.” Perhaps it’s my behavior to make numerous stops here and there throughout a day that the pin is often time where I had parked 2-3 stops ago.

What’s bad:

  • Cuts battery life in nearly half.

What’s Useless:

  • Totally random nearby places.
    • Might be useful if on vacation or a business trip, but no thank you I don’t need to see the deli that I already know is around the corner from my house.
    • What pops up is so random too, perhaps ask me what I’m interesting in finding out about (e.g. Sushi, Indian restaurants, etc.)
  • Maybe it’s a symptom of living in a suburb, but nearby events is also a huge disappointment.
  • It could be useful for finding hidden gems I guess, but I’m getting Friday’s and Chili’s type of suggestions.

What it needs:

  1. Typical Google having more and more overlapping but not synchronized services… Google Now needs to tie together/sync/reconcile to dos and reminders from Google Tasks, Google Inbox, Google Keep. Then get those reminders into Google Now.
  2. More routes and destinations other than home and work.

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