Google Now is one of the best features of Jelly Bean, delivering accurate information in blazing fast speed. Recently, co-creator Baris Gultekin was interviewed by MemeBurn where they discussed the vision behind Google Now and its future. Google recognized that phones were getting smarter, more context-aware, and the goal was to give user’s the information they needed at the right time.
“We need to understand in what circumstance you need what type of information, and how we can give that information to you without you having to dig for it. That’s where we started. The types of things that we launched are [what you need in the moment] — you tend to check for weather in the morning so you know what to wear. You tend to check for traffic in the morning, so you know to avoid traffic and take the alternate route. That’s the high-level goal.”
Baris says that this is just the beginning of Google Now and when asked if it’ll be on other platforms, he said there isn’t anything to announce yet and hinted “But at a high level, we just want to help our users wherever they are.” As far as how Now got started, it was actually a 20% project which are projects that Google encourages employees to work on that are not company projects themselves.
After showing a couple demos to executives, they were immediately excited and wanted the feature ready for launch. Privacy is definitely a big focus for Google and Baris makes it clear that Google Now is an opt-in product. You can choose not to grant access to your data, and if you do want to grant it, you have control over what information, “Cards”, are displayed.
With many different ways of delivering relevant information to users, there’s the possibility of sharing too much information. Here is how Google combats that:
“For instance, if you’re travelling, chances are you care about if your flight was delayed or not. Users would really like to get that information, and we’ll show you your flight status with a link to the email if you want to see more. We try to balance how we can show you the information but not be intrusive. It’s very important for us. We are very careful about not being too interruptive. We wouldn’t buzz your phone unless it’s something [important]. If you have a meeting, and you’re running late for a meeting, that’s the only time we’ll buzz your phone.”
Design for Google Now was important and users see that with the informative Cards and subtle features like the header, which changes to day or night depending on your current location.