|Google Assistant Heads to iPhone, iPad|
|By JOANNA STERN (@joannastern)||Apr 29, 2013, 9:11 AM|
Watch out Siri, Google's own personal assistant service is coming to your home town. Today Google is releasing its Google Now service for the iPhone and iPad. 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 tailored to your life. For instance, it will show you the weather when you start your day, remind you of your next appointment and show you the fastest way to get to work, complete with different routes based on traffic. The service learns your habits and your routines and provides you the information you need without having to go search for it.
"Our goal is to get you the right information, at just the right time," Google CEO Larry Page said of the service on the company's earnings call last week.
Focus on Design 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 same look and feel of the Android version over to the iOS app, focusing on clean design and presenting those alerts or information on cards.
"One of the things you have started to see is that Google is finding a mature design language across all of its products," Matias Duarte, Google's Director of Android User Experience, told ABC News. "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, the Google Now app uses a fresh, modern font and balances it with a good amount of 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.
"We don't want to just uniformly force one experience on to anyone, regardless of the platform," 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."
Aiming at Apple Of course, that environment already has a similar personal assistant app -- Siri. Apple introduced the voice-controlled personal assistant in iOS in 2010 and has been improving it ever since.
Google Now also supports voice control. You can tap the microphone icon and ask the service what the weather is or if your flight is on time.
When the iPhone was introduced, Google services, including Maps and YouTube, came preloaded on Apple's device. However, as Google's Android has surged in popularity, Apple has begun to focus on its own apps, removing Google's preloaded services. Google Maps and YouTube were not included in Apple's latest iOS 6.
When Google Maps was released for the iPhone, many quickly replaced Apple Maps app with Google's more accurate solution. People replacing Apple's apps with Google's iOS apps, even though they are no longer preloaded, is becoming a trend, analysts say.
"Even though Apple has been pursuing Cloud services, Google has placed a stronger emphasis on tying more of those services to apps. A lot of Apple's Cloud services are more of a background infrastructure," Ross Rubin, principal analyst of Reticle Research, told ABC News. "Google is either stronger or there is no real significant competition with many of its Cloud apps. Google Now is just the latest example."
Google's Search app, including Google Now, can be downloaded now from the App Store here.