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Improving Google Now [Opinion]

Google Now

Google Now is great at putting certain pieces of information in front of you before you realize you need it. A traffic report for your drive home is there just before you leave work. You’re notified about a package’s location after you’re emailed about it. Recent searches appear to remind you about your bad decision to try and understand what happened in the Clone Saga.

Google wants to continue to empower our cell phones and turn them into truly useful person assistants. I believe Google Now is the best way to do that, but I also believe Google Now needs to get a lot better. In particular, Now needs improve its use of contextual information, have more of a personality, and display information better. 

Context

Google is pretty good at guessing what I want to see, but it doesn’t know things I haven’t told Google about and it certainly doesn’t always know all of my contextual information. Google Now knows to show me appointment information before I need to leave to meet someone or to show me local attractions, but I’m not always trying to explore something and sometimes I want to be reminded of my schedule more in advance.

Location context can be tremendously powerful. For example, imagine when you walk in to your local coffee shop a card appears to pay with Google Wallet. After you pay, a card appears with a book recommendation from Google Play or your favorite playlist to throw on while you work on some homework. Maybe when you arrive at your parents place Google Now presents you with a card that initiates a photo slide show of the vacation you took last week. Maybe when you arrive at work or school it provides a card for your schedule for the rest of your day so you know what to expect as you walk in.

One context that Google can’t anticipate is my conversation (unless you opt in to let Google Now listen to everything you say). I might have just finished a meeting and want to add another appointment to my calendar. With Apple’s Siri I can tell her to add an appointment to my calendar on the drive home, but Google Now is severely limited in the voice input it can receive. For example with Google Now I can initiate a phone call or a text message, but there is no audible feedback and with a text message I’m then prompted to use a keyboard. Siri, on the other hand, requires voice input and can do nothing with text. Google Now has fantastic voice recognition (unlike Siri’s “voice recognition,” which I believe Apple borrowed from Google Voice), but it’s really only good for initiating tasks, not completing them. Google would be wise to allow users to ask Now questions regarding their personal information (like calendar information) and complete tasks with their voice.

Personality

Google has a lot of personality. From Google Doodles to April Fools’ Day, Google regularly shows off its sense of humor. Google Now makes no effort to feel human. Siri, on the other hand, tells jokes, sings songs, delights in tales of robots dominating humanity, and breaks the fourth wall like your favorite merc with a mouth. As a result, Siri really does feel like a personal assistant with personality and quirks.

Adding little bits of personality throughout Now that aren’t user initiated would also make Now feel even more responsive and human. Granted, Siri was presented from the ground up as a personal assistant, but it wouldn’t take much to build a persona around Now. Siri tells you a joke when you ask her, but imagine Now pulling up a grumpy cat meme when you do a search for something cat related.

Adding personality to Google Now wouldn’t add a lot of functionality, but it would encourage users to play with the app more and feel more connected with the service. I love the idea of Now messing with people on April Fools’ Day with a light-hearted prank, giving a sarcastic response before following a command, or responding conversationally. I also love the idea of the Now app having sliders to choose how sarcastic or biting Now can be in response to you (just in case you’re a bit more sensitive or don’t like the idea of robots talking back to you).

Layout

Google Now is easy to launch from the lock screen of a stock device, but from your home screen it is less obvious. Tapping on the search bar at the top of the screen is fine, but it implies searching, now Now.  I think leaving Google Now as a replacement for the Google Search app makes it feel foreign to Android even though Google Now only appears on the mobile operating system. I think Google should borrow a design cue from Motorola and integrate Google Now into the home screen. A swipe to the right from your main screen should throw you into Google Now.

In addition to home screen integration, I think Google could do a better job at showing more information in Now. As I mentioned in my Windows Phone 8 review, in a lot of ways Live Tiles feel like Google Now. I don’t think Google should adopt the Live Tiles UI, but I do think they could present cards better.

Scrolling through cards is nice, but at first you can only see one and a quarter cards. I’m assuming Google did that to encourage users to scroll through Google Now, but from a UX perspective it makes Google Now far less powerful. Cards could be folded and then unfolded with a tap to show more or less information without dismissing it, flipped to show more information, or even stacked together (to borrow an idea from webOS).

The Beginning of Now

Google Now is really powerful and super useful, but Google definitely hasn’t tapped into its full potential. Once you get past the initial creepy feeling when Google predicts the information you want without asking for it, Now feels amazing. It has the potential to blow assistants like Siri out of the water because it does what any good assistant should: do things without you having to say so. I can’t wait to see what Google does to build out Now as a platform that can be integrated into smart watches, Google Glass, smart cars, refrigerators, mirrors, and so much more. This is just the beginning of Now.

  • http://twitter.com/mrjayviper Jayel Villamin

    “Google Now is really powerful and super useful, ”

    I’ve enabled it on the phone and tablet but have yet to find a use for it.

    just displays weather/traffic report and score of my favorite NBA team. seems the data is not as “dynamic” as I would hope. thinking of freezing it now… :/

  • Higher_Ground

    I can’t stress how turned off I am by Siri’s “personality”. If they do decide to add anything like I want the ability to turn it completely off.

    I hate how they don’t allow you to customize the cards enough. I can’t get it to follow my route to work. It’s great that Google thinks they know the fastest path to my office, but all of the alternate routes are much slower. The desktop browser has allowed you to tweak a route for YEARS… but neither the mobile client nor the Google now card support it.

    I finally got a card notifying me about a package…about a day after it arrived.

    All in all I think the cards are fairly limited and that Google is missing out on a lot of potential uses because there isn’t enough adaptability with each individual card.

  • Justin Halcomb

    How about getting rid of the current lock screen widgets in favor of adding Google Now to the lock screen. When you press your power button to wake up the phone Google Now interface will be available for you to check out with out sliding up to get to Google Now. It can show you your most useful information that you’ll need now like weather, directions to a certain place, scores, and appointments and as well as missed calls, unread text, gmail messages, the like in the form of cards.

  • http://brgulker.wordpress.com/ brgulker

    Nearly every idea proposed seems to me like a giant consumer of battery. My battery struggles enough as it is.

    Until battery tech improves dramatically, I think I would disable every single one of these features.

  • http://brgulker.wordpress.com/ brgulker

    “I think Google should borrow a design cue from Motorola and integrate Google Now into the home screen. A swipe to the right from your main screen should throw you into Google Now.”

    Man I hope not. I use my home screens and have a virtual home button.

    If you have a physical home button, you realize you can just add the Google shortcut from the app drawer to the home screen right?

  • Christopher Riner

    “Google should borrow a design cue from motorola..”. ….who took their design cue, probably, from Google, lol.

    Joking aside, I think you’re absolutely right. I would welcome any of your improvement ideas with my Google now experience. If accessing more personal information is the cost of Google now being the executive assistant that I want to see it become, then so be it. People get pretty fired up when they think about Google having access to personal info, but honestly they already do. Besides, its not like Google is gonna tell on you if you’re cheating on your wife or selling dime bags on the playground

  • rcrow490

    I would like to see Now get it’s basic functionality perfected before we move on to “gee whiz!”. I drive 1 mile to work and back at the same time, 5 days a week. I go to church twice a week on the same days at the same time. Every time I open Now, it gives me the route and time to church no matter what day or time of day it is.

  • austin greenlee

    “Google Now is easy to launch from the lock screen of a stock device, but from your home screen it is less obvious.” I will admit is less obvious but if you know the lock screen way you know the home screen way

  • Russell Tanner

    I disagree that Now shouldn’t be a replacement for Search. Now IS a beefed up combination of Android’s previous Search and Voice Actions apps, that also fetches some information preemptively to have ready when you open it. I like this integration rather than having it as a separate e-secretary app. Why have separate apps for searching by text and searching by voice? That’s like Gingerbread all over again.

  • Todd Lower

    Google Now has no trouble sending text messages without your keyboard. Just say “Send text to [contact_name] [message]. I do it all the time as I leave work to let my girlfriend know I’m on my way home.

    Google Now can also schedule reminders (which uses alarm clock) or appointments which use your calendar.

    • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

      Right, but it doesn’t show your upcoming calendar entries (show me what I have in my calendar for the week, for example) and I believe you have to hit send to actually get the message to go. There’s no read back or anything so if you’re in the car and don’t want to look at your screen you’re out of luck. That’s been my experience, anyway.

  • http://twitter.com/BatsShadow Scott Webber

    Google Now should be a widget that I can stretch to fill a full home screen. I would make my default screen Google Now. As it is, I only check it when I know it knows something, which sort of defeats the purpose.

    • Chris

      I actually like this idea. I have a homescreen or two that’s completely blank, now that I started using folders more, and I dig this.

  • Tom Z

    I’d love to see it work with other email accounts. I use a Yahoo account for all my purchases and junk type email. My Gmail account is reserved for personal communication. I would start using one of my other Gmail accounts if they allowed multiply accounts connected to Now.

    • joejoe5709

      I had everything automatically forwarded from my other accounts to my gmail account. Not elegant, especially if you want to keep personal stuff seperate, but it still works for Google Now.

      • Tom Z

        I tried forwarding a few messages and it didn’t work.

    • Chris

      YES. PLEASE.

      I like Gmail, but I used to sign up for spam on my Gmail, and now that Gmail is used for all things Google, so I don’t want to create a new Gmail as I’m not sure everything will carry over. So I use Yahoo! as my email, and I would love for Google Now to be able to use that. Especially since I just recently booked a flight and got a confirmation email through Yahoo, and I would love for Google Now to tell me when to leave for my flights haha.

  • Adam

    If you have a custom launcher just use gestures to launch google now from your home screen.

  • Dillon Brown

    I really like Google Now, and would agree with most of Ron’s points, (except: more Siri personality, i just want to get things done). However, for me I think where it is really limited is prediction when there is no end goal and the inability to call up cards. I live in a city where I take public transit, and would like to have Now always pull up that information when I leave my place and not only when I am trying to go to work or home. It may be my unique situation, but the T stop next to my place doesn’t show on the maps and when I’m there the card never comes up. Now worse, I can’t manually pull up that card so I lose major functionality. Also, it always shows “back to home” even when I just left my place. I would like the option to say I’m going somewhere and not have to navigate. To say something like “I’m going to X store” and it will passively put a card in the stack that says approx. time conditions to get there, transit info etc. There are plenty other things too, but I’ve gone on enough.

  • http://twitter.com/jbardrof Jeremy Bardrof

    Just last night I had Google Now set a reminder for me and add another event. I don’t think Ron has actually used Google Now.

    • LionStone

      We’ve actually been able to voice input appointments into our Calendar even before Google Now, iRonically ;)

    • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

      You can add a reminder, but you can’t have Now show you your upcoming calendar events (like what I have in my calendar for the next week).

      • http://twitter.com/jbardrof Jeremy Bardrof

        I agree it’s handling of events is minimal, but I use it to set up events and reminders. It would be nice if I could ask it what I’m doing on any particular day.

      • LionStone

        G Now>Menu>Sample Cards>Next appointment>Settings>Tap on ‘Card Appears’…For any meeting…Only if far away….In evening for next day. I use a Calendar widget on my DNA that gives me the week view. G Now is more for what’s happening right ‘now’, or the next day…

        • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

          Right, Now is designed for what you need immediately, but it can be used for other things and it would be ore helpful if it did more often. I can ask Siri if I have anything coming up in the week. Now either performs a Google search with the same voice query or tries to add a calendar event. I have my calendar card set up the same way and i have a calendar widget, but being able to quickly figure out my schedule within Now would be great. Being able to ask your personal digital assistant what is coming up on your calendar is a pretty basic feature that Google should add.

      • LionStone

        It does give you upcoming calendar events. If I have an address attached to the event’s location, I will have the option to navigate to the event from wherever I am.

  • Akashshr

    Recently discovered a major bug with google now,
    If you have a mail, in gmail..which has anything to do with Flights…just a conversation with a friend with specific Flight times and airlines name, google now will display that as a potential flight u are going to take…Its a MAJOR bug, which is kinda silly..
    I think it scans for the word ‘flight – anything’ and shows it

  • stephan390

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  • Rob Lawn

    They need to improve the battery life when this thing is on. When i had Google now on with traffic report it nearly cut my battery life in half.

  • andrew galvin

    as a nexus 4 user, I had to disable google now in order to prevent massive battery drain caused by GPS and wakelocks. However, once that gets sorted out, I would like it to stay personality-less. Making it funny and have a personality would make it less of a tool and more of a gimmick.

    • http://brgulker.wordpress.com/ brgulker

      You should he able to get rid of battery drain NY disabling the report location automatically in Maps.

      Worked for me. Still get usefulness of much of Google now with less battery.

  • joejoe5709

    Definitely the future. Though like Siri, I find myself using it mostly to impress friends. I live in a medium sized city with little traffic, I don’t get a lot of packages, I don’t go out much, I’m not a huge sports fan, and my schedule rarely differs enough to schedule things far ahead. I would like to see Google Now/Voice Search have more control over the phone without needed to touch it. “Google. Call mom.” Battery drain permitting, I’d like it listen in the background and come up when I need it even if the phone is sleeping – probably by saying a simple “GOOGLE”. I’d like to see developers give it control over their apps such as Pandora – “Google. Next Song” “Google. Thumbs Up”. Integrate with my TV DVR (Comcast) and let me know when shows are coming up, record them for me if I forget, and suggest new shows. Context is the most important aspect that Now has over Siri. If I walk into a theater, school, or a library turn my phone to vibrate and back to normal when I leave. I’d like to see Google Shopper more integrated. Bring up applicable coupons (perhaps ones that I can load into Google Wallet or something) or special deals. (it already does – but inconsistently). When now is more widely used and integrated, we could have phones communicate with each other. Now detects you’re going to be late due to traffic and asks for permission to send a text message to another phone saying you’ll be at least XX minutes late. I could go on and on. Google Now might be more limited in some ways compared to Siri, but it’s already far more advanced and far far ahead of its time.

    I completely disagree about the personality – even with a slider. I know Google itself has a personality but it never ever gets in the way of functionality. In fact I’d call it “flair” more than “personality”. I think Google Now has a better chance of acceptance if it stays with a silent no-nonsense assistant that is here to help even when you didn’t think you needed it. If it does, I would expect something like Iron Man’s “Jarvis”, not a slightly silly Siri copycat.

    Less important is UI and usability. I’m fine with it being accessed from the home button or lockscreen, but it really should be listening in the background for me to say “Google”. I’ve always been a big fan of a Google Now widget. And the UI is fine for me. Sure, a little tweaking and organization would be nice. Thank you Google for constantly updating Now instead of relying soley on Android version updates.

    Most of all, this needs to be ultra-lightweight and have minimal drain on a battery. Is that too much to ask? Maybe. All of this – hopefully with be present in KLP!! :-) When it’s all perfect and tweaked to perfection. Give Apple users a little taste on iOS. They’ll come running. I guarantee it.

  • Kurtis Tamez

    I turned Google Now OFF. Low and behold my battery thanked me since Google Maps was the #3 item using battery on my device. I love the functionality of it, but I can’t take the battery drain.

  • http://twitter.com/twlamb Tyler Lamb

    Just sent a text message a few days ago via Google Now, without using the keyboard… “Text Bob What are you doing” all i have to do is click send.

    • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

      Right, you have to do something with the screen. If I’m driving and need to send a text then I don’t want to have to look at the screen.

      • Chris

        Yeah, maybe they’ll just add a ‘Send message’?

        ‘Yes’ and then it sends. I get where you’re coming from Ron.

      • LionStone

        If you can’t pull off one tap to send, then you shouldn’t be doing anything with your phone while driving anyway. Other than that, I prefer to preview before I send. I always know when my buddy is using Siri for messaging when I see words that are out of context.

        • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

          It is illegal in many states (including my own) to look at your phone to text. Using voice to send a text is legal, but physically touching your phone to text is illegal. I too prefer to preview a message before I send it. Siri reads the message back before sending so you don’t have to look down. The problem with Siri is the voice recognition software sucks. Your buddy is probably like me and gets frustrated having to repeat himself five times with Siri to get the voice recognition right. Now has great voice recognition, but it doesn’t have audible feedback for situations when you’re multitasking or driving.

          • arturo_bandini

            Yup. In many states the moment you touch the screen of a phone old smoky can pull you over. And they watch for it, because it’s low hanging fruit.

  • shelderman

    Improve battery drain.

    • http://brgulker.wordpress.com/ brgulker

      Almost everything proposed in this article uses more battery.

      Google now can’t know your context, for example, without constantly asking for your location.

  • hyperbolee

    Google Now has been worthless for me practically. I don’t watch sports, so i don’t care about that. Packages delivered are emailed to me already so I know they are there and Google Now is just duplicate info. Traffic doesn’t help me because I live in a city under 200,000 people. The suggestions on nearby things are worthless. The only helpful thing was the day I was flying – that was awesome, but alas I fly twice a year. After having it on for 6+ months I disabled it and my battery life improved – not worth the battery drain.

    • Alexa White

      I feel most of the cards are pretty useless to me, too. I think it’s handy when I have an appointment (a few times a year), but I don’t watch sports and I work from home, so no need for those notifications most of the time, either. I did finally add some stocks to watch, but the information is not helpful since it is stocks in general and not how they are affecting my accounts. Linking up to my accounts would be far more informative.

      Package tracking is sub par. It links to the shipper’s tracking page instead of pulling that information for you. Once a package has shipped, I don’t need a card constantly telling me it has shipped, I want to know where it is and when I’ll get it. I have an app that tracks far better and tells me all this info in one place (Parcels). It aggregates the tracking details and lists expected delivery dates in one place for all shipments. Google Now should work on this.

  • Liquidretro

    How about the shipping card working with more sites? I have gotten it to work on Newegg about 50% of the time, and Amazon most of the time. It doesn’t work elsewhere well. Also tell me where my package is and when it will arrive, not just the tracking number and a link.

  • Alexa White

    What’s so hard about accessing Google Now from the home screen? Just swipe up on the Home button. From anywhere.

    Or maybe you have a physical button, which then is the fault/limitation of your hardware, not Google Now.

    • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

      I have software, but not everyone does. That’s one of the advantages of strict hardware guidelines that I wish Google would adopt.

    • Feztheforeigner

      Hold the home or menu button on physical keys for Google Now.

      Samsung: menu button
      Everyone else:home button

  • Ryuuie

    I didn’t even finish this article before I decided it’s a damn good one.

    You made a Spider-Man Clone Saga joke in an Android-based article. Good job.

    • https://plus.google.com/113924127356889315682?tab=ch#113924127356889315682/posts//p/pub Chris Jeske

      ^ this. I almost lol’d.

  • http://twitter.com/eddieruko Eddie Rivera

    While Google Now successfully shows info related to a flight I may be taking, I have yet to see it display my ticket despite getting the PDF and weblink for it in my email.

    But I love the idea of Google Wallet being there. It would great if you could set any app to display a widget, etc, and not just those that Google thinks should be present.

    • LionStone

      Not all of the airline carriers are on board yet, I just wish there was a list to show which ones are and aren’t. G Now is integrated into the notifications panel already, I get info there such as final scores of games, etc.

  • fiveHellions

    I think google now should have a lock screen widget. Cards on your lockscreen that you can swipe through would be cool. Imagine every time you turn your phone on to check the time or your notifications, you see the most relevant card.

    • BrianT

      Agree. This would also make the users more familiar with the service and probably help its development. The more we tinker with something, the more the community supports it. Look at what happened to launchers.

  • David Scheers

    Google Now would be great if it didn’t drain my battery like hell.

    • NexusPhan69

      Google now drains your battery? What does it show up as in the battery list?

      • LionStone

        If you have Traffic enabled, Maps will show up.

  • MicroNix

    Voice input severely limited? Ron, seriously, have you ever used Google Now? Typing text messages? I am glad you like siri so much but try as you will but I’m not buying an ios product!! I’d rather have the better answers that Google Now provides and a slap happy siri that can’t get its searches right! #stallions

    • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

      Yes, I have used it.

  • PyroHoltz

    Ron, who exactly are you offering this opinion to? Google, DL readers (who can’t do anything about how Now works) or nobody specifically?

    I agree with many of your points in the article but I’m not certain I understand your motives for writing it.

    • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

      If Google reads it, great. Otherwise, it’s just a way to continue the conversation about personal digital assistants and how they should work.

      • joejoe5709

        DL is a fairly major and well-respected site. I bet someone somewhere in Google (or even Apple) reads this stuff. My questions is if our opinions and good ideas ever make it to the right people who can actually make something happen.

    • Dain Laguna

      well by that token, NO technology journalism website should ever write opinion pieces, because the people reading it can’t actually change a thing about it. that concept/problem isn’t exclusive to Droid Life.

      I personally like Ron’s opinion pieces because they seem to get folks riled up

      • PyroHoltz

        You’ll notice, I wasn’t ragging on Ron’s piece at all, I was simply curious who his target audience was. I too enjoy his previous pieces and try to make every opportunity to deeply consider there premise.

        To your first point, I think there are plenty of opinion articles posted across the web that aren’t written in this manner. By which I mean, they’re not quite void of action to the reader. Most often opinion pieces are meant to challenge the reader to, try something new or evaluate how they approach a situation. They’re certainly meant to evoke some sort of emotion or counter point. In Ron’s most recent article, I feel like he’s discussing how Google should move forward with Now. He’s not asking the reader to take part in using it (most likely because a large majority of DL readers already use the best things about Now) but posing future ways of improvement.

  • wickets

    and being able to integrate different accounts…..I’m certain there are more people with 2 or more goog accounts than there are with just 1

  • RonsOpinionsAreTerrible

    Please never post another article by Ron again. They are always terrible and make this site look bad. Thanks.

    • Mack

      Don’t hate just because your opinions aren’t as good as his.

    • MicroNix

      I tend to wonder why Ron’s articles sound like rants you would find on Apple Insider. He constantly puts Android down which is counter to this site’s beginnings and praises crap like Siri. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot! If you like Apple so much, why not write for MacGasm, Apple Insider or any of the countless Apple fanboy blogs?

      BTW Ron, you ever see the head to head with Google Now and Siri? You know, the one with the “stallions”? Siri was SMOKED by Google Now. If I wanted some smart a**ed chick talking back to me I’d ask any of the millions of women that give it. Not with something that I go to expecting a correct answer to my question. And not when I want it to do something for me.

      • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

        Google Now has no audible feedback. That was the critique I made about sending texts and adding appointments. Also, Now doesn’t have a response to see upcoming appointments when you ask it a question like that with your voice. Those are things that I would like to be able to do with Now.

        • anoma_dotNET

          Maybe you’re saying it wrong. What are you asking it exactly?
          (See screenshot)

          • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

            Hm, I hadn’t thought of that phrasing. Saying something like “What do I have on my calendar for this week?” initiates a Google Search. It’s good that they have something like that, but I wish they would have anticipated asking about my “calendar” instead of my “appointments.” Now seems to have some issues with natural language in that way.

  • jer85008

    What would be great are more “smart actions” type features, like automatically switching your phone to car mode when it senses you are on the freeway home. I wouldn’t mind it being a one-stop shop for notifications (email/texts) either, if implemented well. Still, it’s useful and I use it pretty much every day now.

  • Jorb

    All I want is for Google Now to open more quickly the first time. Once it opens once it’s fine, but I use it so infrequently that most times I use it, it’s opening up for the first time.

  • Derek Traini

    How about some Google Now widgets!?
    Think about it: widgets for weather, stocks, travel, sports!
    That would be nice.

  • NexusPhan69

    Almost everything you suggested would annoy the living hell out of me. I don’t want 5,000 cards all the time. I’m close to my limit as it is for number of cards. I’m not 100% on the expandable cards unless you can prioritize ones that are always expanded. And you can voice text with Google now. I use it all the time. “Text ‘friend’ I will arrive in twenty minutes” Automatically sends. Unless you meant that it doesn’t talk back to you. But, I’m also a fan of it not doing that.

    But, I agree Google Now has many areas that need improvement.

    • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

      Yes, I mean that it doesn’t talk back. It would be far more helpful in driving situations or when multitasking to have voice feedback instead of me having to look at the screen.

      • NexusPhan69

        I don’t think I’d be a fan of it doing that, but I wouldn’t know because I’ve never had that. It would certainly be safer…

        • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

          I’ve used it and you’re right, it’s a lot safer. I get that some people might like it, but having the option would be great.

          • Chris

            Ron, I commented earlier and said I agree that when you send a text there should be a way to send it without looking at your screen and pressing ‘send’.

            But, I personally (and I feel a lot of people here) disagree with the fact that Google Now should be more personal and give jokes and whatnot. One thing a lot of us seem to enjoy is how quick and easy Google Now is. There’s no jokes or Google Now asking you 100 times ‘would you like to send this’ and all that stupid stuff that Siri has. Plus, Siri has somewhat of a person’s name, so it makes more sense that Siri has a personality. Google Now seems more like an object, so I feel it doesn’t need a personality.

            Hopefully that made sense!

          • http://ronoffringa.wordpress.com Ron Offringa

            If Google gave Now some personality then they’d probably have an off switch for the impromptu joking around. Like I said in the article, it wouldn’t add functionality, just familiarity.

          • Chris

            That’s actually a really neat idea. Give it the humor that some people may want, but allow you to turn it on or off. That’s cool!

    • http://brgulker.wordpress.com/ brgulker

      I am inclined to agree. I usually agree with the opinion pieces here… Not this one at all.

  • normmcgarry

    “A traffic report for your drive home is there just before you leave work.” – Actually it tells me how far I am from home the entire day while I’m at work and I think it is obnoxious. I wish it only told me at like 5pm.

    • NexusPhan69

      Well the card is always there. Which I like. The notification in notification menu shows up at around 4pm for me. I like how it is now. They need more detailed and complex settings for each individual card I think.

      • normmcgarry

        Weird. My notification is there every time I pull down my notification bar, despite swiping it away countless times. I hate it. I love the concept of Google Now, but they really need to let you customize it more.

        • Dr_Buttballs

          You can disable the notification through that’s specific cards settings I believe. I did it with the weather notification.

        • NexusPhan69

          Try going into Google now settings -> traffic and change “regular traffic” to off. You can also try going to “card appears” and uncheck “other commutes” That should do it!

    • http://twitter.com/eddieruko Eddie Rivera

      one feature i do like about it is if i search for something in google maps, it will appear as a drop-down card in the notifications. i will typically search to see how far/long a place is from me well ahead a time. i’ve found it helpful more often than not, but i agree it can be annoying at times.

    • droidftw

      My traffic report can’t figure it’s self out. I leave school at 12:30 twice a week and 2:30 twice a week. It doesn’t know when to show the notification.

    • joejoe5709

      Yes. I almost always ignore it to the point that it’s lost its usability.

    • Christopher Riner

      With the amount of up votes you have it must be a pretty consistent problem. Mine does pretty good at telling me only when I need it. Probably BC I don’t have a job.

    • brando56894

      At first I thought this feature would be awesome because I commute 70 minutes to my job which is 40 miles away every day. I usually leave at 7:15 in order to get there by 8:30 but the stupid traffic report never shows up until about 15 minutes after I’ve already left so it’s essentially useless. I have recently found the options that will tell it not to report on normal traffic, I just wish there was an option that said “notify me in x amount of minutes before my commute” so that it could actually be useful.