The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Lifestyle

April 30, 2013

Review: Google Now useful as a supplement to Siri

(Continued)

Where Google Now shines is in anticipating your questions. Open the Google Search app, and you'll see cards fill the screen with useful information.

In Orlando, Google Now continually offered directions to nearby breweries, possibly because I had searched Google for information on tours. I got information on a co-worker's flight from Las Vegas because he had shared his Google calendar with me. And because I had searched for Flowers Foods for a story just before my trip, Google Now offered me directions to the baking company's headquarters in Georgia when I was about a half-hour away. I was actually headed to Montgomery, Ala., but I appreciated the gesture.

Later, in Bangkok and southern Thailand, Google Now was by my side with information on currency-exchange rates, language translations, tourist attractions and photo opportunities. It also told me the current time at home in New York, so I didn't need to figure out time zones myself.

On weekday mornings in New York, Google Now sends me notifications on how long my commute should take, based on public transit schedules at that time. It tells me about my commute home in the afternoon. It knows not to bother me with that information while I'm abroad.

Without typing or saying anything, I can press the search box on my phone and automatically get a card with the current weather and forecast. I can also get the latest Mets and Nets scores that way.

Google Now's judgments on what information I need to know can be sketchy at times:

— Although I thought the offer for directions to Flowers Foods was clever, I got annoyed with Google Now in Bangkok when it continually gave me directions to places I had searched but wasn't interested in visiting.

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