Some people have this wrong notion that Google Now is inspired by Apple’s Siri. Heck, some even think that it is mock of Siri. The truth is that neither Google Now is a Siri Killer nor Siri is a Google Now killer. They both are different and this needs to be understood.
Siri is a voice assistant whereas Google Now is basically a personalized search application that uses knowledge graph. They’re two different things.
Let’s start with Siri. Siri is like a virtual girlfriend of yours — she will talk to you, crack jokes, recommend you hotels, tell you if you need a raincoat today and more. It can even understand context. For instance, you can ask her to text your wife or your mom. You can talk to Siri just the way you talk to your friends.
Perhaps Siri’s best feature is its ability to converse. You can chat with it. You can ask Siri to search for good restaurants around you and then again ask it to look for something Mexican instead. Siri will remember that you had just asked it to look for restaurants and so, it’ll show you Mexican restaurants that are, again, nearby you.
GOOGLE NOW CANNOT DO THIS. AND IT’LL NEVER DO THIS.
On the other hand, Google Now is your knowledge graph. It’s not a voice assistant. It cannot talk to you. But it knows everything about you — which is actually spooky — places you’ve been to, queries you’ve searched on Google.com, flights you’ve recently searched for, your home location and pretty much everything. And using this knowledge, it presents you with useful information in slick ‘Now’ cards at the right time.
Google Now is not something you can initiate manually. You cannot talk to it, it just knows. When you search for a restaurant on a desktop, Google Now will automatically present a ‘Now’ card with the directions of that particular restaurant at dinner time. If you’ve an event set in your calendar, it’ll remind you to leave a few minutes before it so that you can reach on time. It tells you how much traffic to expect before you leave for work, your favorite team’s score while they’re playing and much more.
SIRI IS DIFFERENT. IT’S NOT DESIGNED TO DO THIS.
Sam Biddle of Gizmodo sums up Google Now beautifully in three lines:
It thinks for you, providing information cues even when you haven’t ask for them. Google Now is supposed to be as smart as you—maybe even smarter. This isn’t search, it’s tell.
So next time you hear anyone calling either of Siri or Google Now as a killer of the other, tell them they’re wrong.
Google Now doesn’t work for you? Maybe you haven’t enabled location and search history, which is important for Google to know about you. To do so, open Settings > Location services > Enable Location & Google Search.
It’s also important to know the difference between Google Search and Google Now. They two are also different. The screenshot that you see on the right is the new, improved Google Search with Knowledge Graph result being shown as a Card. It’s not Google Now. Google Now is not something you can launch manually or search for, it just knows about you.