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Google Now: Personal Assistant Service, App Look to Dethrone Siri

April 30, 2013

Google Now, the company's own personal assistant service, is coming to your mobile devices. Ask Siri if she's worried ... or ask Google Now if she is!

Today Google is releasing its Google Now service for the iPhone and iPad, and it will be available in Google's Search app in the Apple App Store.

Similar to the Android version, the iOS version will provide information custom-tailored to your life, your habits and your routines, just as you need it.

"Our goal is to get you the right information, at just the right time," Google CEO Larry Page said of the service on a company earnings call last week.

Unlike the Android version, which is integrated into Google's operating system, the iPhone and iPad version are parts of the Google Search app.

However, Google has brought the look and feel of the Android version to iOS, focusing on clean design and presenting those alerts or info on cards.

"Google is [starting to find] a mature design language across all of its products," Matias Duarte, Google's Director of Android User Experience, said.

"When we started working on Google Now last year, we had people from all over the company from Search to Google Labs to Android come help design it."

Similar to the new Maps, YouTube and Gmail apps for the iPhone, Google Now uses a fresh, modern font and balances it with decent white space.

Duarte says that while the Now app for iOS has many of the same design elements as the Android version, some changes were made to it as well.

"We don't want to just uniformly force one experience," he explained.

"It has to be a good visitor in the country it lives in, while still retaining its unique identity. You need to accommodate the environment your experience lives in."

Of course, that environment already has a similar personal assistant app: Siri. Apple introduced the voice-controlled personal assistant in iOS in 2010.

The rival company has been fine-tuning it regularly ever since, but Google has taken its cues, adding voice control for Now as well. Short story: It's ON.

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