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Google Now Named Popular Science’s Innovation of the Year

This week, Popular Science announced the winner of their annual Innovation of the Year award. In years past, they’ve named the Atari gaming system and also the iPhone as winners, but their Editor-in-Chief made a special point for Google Now, marking it as the first time that the thin line between humans and their devices was crossed with such pleasant ease. Google Now “innocently” collects our data, tracks our movements, and then offers suggestions for things before we even think about it. ¬†The below video is Pop Sci’s Editor-in-Chief sharing his thoughts on Google’s latest¬†achievement.

Google Now has been around for more than half of a year now – do you find it to be the most innovative thing so far? For us, it’s definitely up there and when it is put in terms of how it has entered our lives and helps us in the day to day scheme of things, then it could certainly be labeled as incredibly innovative.

Via: Pop Sci

Cheers Ryan!

  • David Gray

    Hey can someone out there please do this thread a favor and ask Siri how Google Now is so amazing and works so well?! LOL

  • David Gray

    I’m so glad that I found this thread because I was just thinking about how amazing Google Now really is and now even better I find out that there’s cards that I haven’t even seen yet and there’s some cards that I might not ever see because I believe you guys are correct I believe Google creates cards as they go which is amazing. So, new cards that I have seen recently our movie tickets and showtimes as I’m driving past a movie theater, football game updates and buy tickets for the Chicago Bears and Storm Alerts. I could literally go on and on

  • jmsbwmn

    Don’t really understand the Siri hating. I’ve come to prefer Android to iOS, but when it comes to voice functionality, Siri really is better. Anyone who claims one OS is completely better than the other is clearly biased, and their opinions should be dismissed as fanaticism.

  • I really thought Facebook integration into iOS was going to get it! This must rigged…… /s

  • Mine just has cards for weather and calendar events. Maybe I just lead a really boring life.

  • NASA

    What? Curiosity’s landing wasn’t innovative?

  • vitriolix

    I wonder why they decided to record this from 200 ft away in Grand Central Station’s bathroom at 3am?

  • Russell Tanner

    I’d love to start getting more out of it. So far Now is just a weather app, and pops up travel time and driving directions for places I’ve searched for in Maps on my phone or desktop. The latter is cool, for sure, but not mind blowing enough that I’d call it innovation of the year. I don’t travel much and don’t work a regular schedule, so I haven’t had nearly the results you guys have. I’ll have to start looking into it more.

  • nightscout13

    I thought Apple was named the most innovating company of 2012? http://bit.ly/xXnCgj
    What a sad world we live in……Apple is in everyone’s pocket.

  • mcm

    Funny that my nexus won’t show the picture of what a nexus shows. Cause it isn’t supported.

  • Tim Buchanan

    Die hard Fandroid here, and I’ve got to be totally honest: Google Now is a glorified weather app. I rarely ever use it, and when it comes to the search function, I almost always opt to just open Chrome. I was excited when it first came out, but it has proven borderline useless for me. IMHO

    • RoboRobP

      If you think it is just a weather app then you obviously are not a “die hard Fandroid” and have never actually used it.

      • Tim Buchanan

        Cool, thanks for your input.

  • Robert Hagelberg

    Google Now is not listed in the Play Store. Any ideas why?

    • Justin Swanson

      it’s part of android 4.1/4.2 updates come in the form of “Google Search”

  • Spiderman13

    I can’t even use Google now on my Gnex because it sucks the already horrible battery life dead.

    • Justin Swanson

      Make sure “reporting from this device” is turned off. I had the same issue… now I don’t notice the drain.

  • nsnsmj

    Is there more to the video? It seems like it was cut off.

  • pookietookie

    I wonder if his Google Now tells him when to trim that thick a$$ beard.

    • Rumbleston

      That sexy-ass beard

  • Sam

    I recently used it during my trip to chicago and it was the best app ever. from having my flight number and gate on it, to the restaurants around me, attractions, direction back to my hotel, etc.

  • Dane Carpenter

    I like how it tells me what time I need to leave for a meeting to get there on time. It even takes traffic conditions into account. Now that is awesome. It surprised me the first time it did that. I had no clue that feature was even available on Google Now

    • I do a lot of traveling for work, and that feature alone was worth the upgrade to 4.1. Now if I can only convince everyone to put the meeting location in the invitations…

  • Paul

    I feel the Google Car probably has a lot more innovation in it. Good that Google won the title though.

  • Jim McClain

    add college football cards

    • Justin Swanson

      I can’t +1 this enough!

    • Larizard


  • Google Now is good yes, but I find Voice Search much more amazing. Those knowledge graph cards truly put Siri to shame.

    • JMonkeYJ

      interesting…i have the opposite view. i’ve probably used voice search all of a dozen times, whereas i use Google Now several times a day. to each his own, of course, just thought the discrepancy was interesting.

  • Google now definitely deserves it. Some of the most impressive things I’ve seen using this in years.

  • Barry Taylor

    Is there a way to have Google Now search two gmail accounts? I order stuff through two accounts, and would love if it’d scour both accounts..

    • derek connolly

      Multiple accounts, I believe, is not supported yet in Google Now.

  • Mallahet

    The fact that my Google Now keeps suggesting that I go to Surly Brewery near Minneapolis means they’re doing something right..

    • Mmmm…I love me some Bender

  • Chris Hollenbeck

    I haven’t used it yet, but I will defiantly give it a try now.

  • Droid Burgundy

    Am I the only person who doesn’t use or care about Google Now? In fact I usually find it annoying!

    • thebruce44

      Yes, you’re the only one.

    • derek connolly

      I’m on the fence. I think it is really cool and smart, however I don’t ever have anything going on, I don’t travel out of the city too much, and I don’t like sports so my Google Now doesn’t do anything for me. I can just imagine my Google Now is screaming “DO SOMETHING” at me just so it can serve its purpose.

      • ForeverAlone

        Yeeeep, same here! I wish it did something for me, but my life is too boring

    • JetBlue

      I’d be quite happy to take your phone and you can take my phone that has GB on it making it so I can’t enjoy the beautiful technology Google has in the newer updates.

    • ml

      If you find it annoying, it’s pretty simple to turn off.

  • t3chi3

    Eat that Apple Fanboys.

  • The flight information scanning alone is worth the cost of the phone. No more having to install flight software then tediously plug in your flight information. Its all automatic and the great part is it work for people you’re picking up at the airport. Just have them forward their itinerary to you and BAM its there.

    Awesomesauce all around Google.

  • mustbepbs

    It’s clearly a copy of Siri though.

    • RoboRobP

      How so? Siri response to queries as google predicts the information you want before you ask.

    • ddevito

      Google Voice Search is a response to Siri indeed – but Now is completely different. If that’s what you think then you really need to use it to understand it. It’s about important info at the most relevant time.

      For example, it tells me when to leave for an event, based on live traffic conditions – that’s epic. It also tells me cool restaurants when strolling around a town I don’t live in. And the hurricane info was monumentally helpful. But the other half of it is info Google has that they can share with us – not just stuff that is installed on your phone.

      So no – it’s not a copy of Siri. At all.

    • infogulch

      Nice troll dude.

    • JetBlue

      You have to put /s if you’re joking if you’ve been here long enough that you think people know you then you would know that.

  • ddevito

    Indeed – as it should be. My fav card has been when it alerted me about power outage info and open gas stations during Hurricane Sandy. That’s when great innovative technology truly changes the world.

    Cheers Google on a job well done.

    • MikeCiggy

      Who knew this card even existed until it popped up on my google now and let me know where open gas stations were because I was in a crisis area. The first day after the storm while waiting in line for gas my friend suggested to me to make an app likes this. I told them i’d have to service the entire world with it not just NJ and then they realized the huge scale that would be required to monitor something simple like open gas stations.

      • ddevito

        I think that’s the point – Google probably won’t list the cards as stone – they’ll change it up when needed.

    • That is incredible! I’m stuck on ICS with my Razr Maxx, but I’ll be joining you guys in a few months. Really warms my heart that Google does stuff like this, and is why they will always be superior to Apple.

      • Is your Razr Maxx rooted? If you’re into that kinda thing download Matt’s Utility and its literally 2 buttons on a PC computer and done (rooted and custom recovery which allows you to flash Google Now or even a JB rom).

        • I’ve never rooted before, but it sounds pretty simple. I’ll give it a shot, thanks for the tip!

          • Welcome!

            I think this is one of the newest build of Matt’s Utility but you will have to register with Droid Razr Root. com to view the links but trust me it is worth it! Almost all the good ROMS and support threads are on this website when it comes to the Droid Razr (Maxx). The best thing about the utility is that if anything fudges up it gives you the LIFE SAVING option to AP Fastboot back to stock WITHOUT wiping all your personal info!!! (I already did this twice…all I have to say is as soon as you setup SafeStrap or any custom recovery MAKE A BACKUP! I CANNOT SAY THIS ENOUGH!)


          • Thanks man!

    • michael arazan

      What a great commercial that would be right now, for New Yorkers to ask what gas stations have gas right now and how long the wait will be. Dam google needs a better PR firm

  • Google now is especially helpful if you commute by bus.

  • Ryan Loud

    Woohoo! Droid-Life shout out to me!

  • EvanTheGamer

    Now how do you like them apples, Siri? What? Nothing to say? Cat got your robot tongue?

    Yeah, walk away.

    • Heh… them *apples*. Well played.

      • michael arazan

        Siri” “apples? would you like me to look that up for you?”

  • It works great for me. More importantly, I think the idea of making a personal assistant that does not involve the user actively asking the machine is the right approach (as opposed of Siri’s demand on the initialization of a dialogue from the user.)

    My only 2 complaints are:

    1) We need more automated actions — this is where Siri beats Google Now.
    2) I have contact and songs in Chinese, but I feel more comfortable speaking in English, especially when talking tech (and talking to MY PHONE). I wish one day Google Now can understand when I speak English, and when I speak Cantonese, and interpret accordingly.

    • Larizard

      Looks like Microsoft has a leg up on this. There were reports about it earlier this week.

  • Obviously they need to invest in another innovation of the year: noise cancelling microphones……

  • scorchedsky

    I think Google Now is completely overhyped. It’s cool, but it just doesn’t really add any value to my phone. I already have a weather widget with a forecast. It won’t let you input custom routes (or learn custom routes), so my commute times are never relevant. I already have ScoreCenter set up with alerts for my games. Currency and time conversion work just as well with Google Voice Search. And now it auto-reads my Gmail, to let me know my package is getting delivered? Cool, that’s what the email snippet said in the notification bar preview already.

    I guess I just don’t get it, maybe it’ll get better? I tried searching for Galaxy Note II benchmarks the other day, and it left me a note in my inbox that said “II benchmarks.” Thanks, Google. At least it’s better than Siri.

    • It’s already improved greatly in the 5ish months since it launched. Google regularly releases products in an unfinished state and then uses user feed back while finishing them. I think Google Now is a great example of that.

      I went from seeing one, maybe two cards in GN to upwards of 5 after I updated to 4.2.

    • Raloc

      grats on your aspergers and not being able to appreciate a collection of useful information to you in one place I guess

    • RoboRobP

      Weather is redundant but at the same time someone can uninstall the 3rd party app so they no longer need it. It does input custom routes once you take the route. My phone shows me the commute to and from work by the highway as well as the back road that I take on the same card as an alternate route. I can select what one I want to use if I feel like going a different route. Scores are just like weather, you may no longer need the 3rd party app. Tracking will give you any updates to your package as it is being delivered as well. The email may give you the tracking code and estimated delivery but google now will use the tracking code to actually track it and the changes. It shows places to visit when you go to different areas, if you use public transit it shows you schedules for it. And the best part is it gives notifications on calender events as well as if you put a location on the event, it then shows traffic and estimated time to leave so you arrive to that location on time as per your calender time. That by far makes it amazing in itself.

    • Shawn Burkit

      flight notifications are a great option also if you are traveling and Search say Coffee shop or What not it will load up a card Whenever you are near one if you want. It actually does a lot So to Say it is useless because You only use the email portion of it is pretty biased.

      • Guest

        A “collection of useful information in one place” doesn’t warrant “Innovation of the Year,” in my opinion. I know it’s a BS award already, but still.

        Check out PopSci’s other items on the list – I think an HIV vaccine pill or portable solar-powered sterilizer is more innovative than software that aggregates information that’s one query away already, guess that’s just me

        • RoboRobP

          I think the point is it predicts the information you may want before you have to query it is the innovative part… not the collection of information on hand. You kind of missed the point.

    • Jeff Badger

      Actually, you are summing up what is so great about Android. The fact that people have options. A user doesn’t have to use Google Now if he or she doesn’t want to as there are other Apps available that can get you the same information.

    • Larizard

      The only problem I have with it is when I search something on my desktop 3000 miles away from me, and Google Now gets too eager to give me directions to it…

  • Greg Morgan

    I think the new features, searching Gmail and adding package confirmations, etc, really advanced it quite far. It doesn’t even compare to Siri.

    • r0lct

      Yes, the tracking card is awesome for us track-aholics.

      • mgamerz

        Just use packagetrackr/Faranow… seems way easier than having to always click ‘track package’ on the card.

    • I agree. The Gmail searching made it exponentially better

    • I think you mean “Siri doesn’t compare to it.”

    • Pedro

      I have yet to get a tracking card.
      I set up Outlook to auto-forward anything from Amazon with ‘Shipped’ in the title to my google now email account. Gotten 3 or 4 emails with a UPS 1Z… tracking number in the body. Nothing.

      • Dr_Buttballs

        I had the same issue. I linked my old Hotmail account to my Gmail and never saw a tracking card if I things from Amazon and the like. I only got it to work after changing my Amazon account email from the previous Hotmail to my newer Gmail account. Works perfectly every time now. So basically I believe the email has to actually come through your Gmail to work.