Google Now, keeping our lives in check

I’m not the most organised person in the world, sure, I get what I need to done, I’m rarely late, but most of that is impossible without my trusty time management system. My system involves a whole bunch of timers, reminders, calendar events and the like to keep me on schedule. In one fell swoop however Google has managed to simplify and streamline it all into one powerhouse, Google Now.

The comparisons are all over the internet, Google Now vs Siri, and the battle of the voice commands. If you would like to see some in depth testing, take your pick from any of these results, they’re pretty emphatic if I’m honest. Siri is a novelty, a toy you try to amuse your friends with, but Google Now is a tool, something that works, works well and makes life a lot easier.

Easily notified

Weather updates, sports scores, directions, nearby places and the eerily alive-sounding voice assistant make a single swipe from the notification bar the most impressive and useful new feature of Android 4.1.

You’ve all read about what Google Now does out of the box, but I am happy to report that after a week of use it’s picked up my habits rather well. When I’m not home it’ll show me the easiest route back home, while avoiding traffic. It’ll remind me when to leave so that I don’t end up late for meetings and then it’ll even get you the best route with voice navigation, in a single selection.

Basically, Google Now makes it easy to set alarms, avoid traffic and tell me about places I can eat, drink or relax at with the ease of either voice commands or typing. Jelly Bean is the spit and polish version of Android we all though Ice Cream Sandwich would be, and although it is not a complete reinvention of the OS, it certainly speeds it up and makes the user experience as easy and painless as possible.

Android is the key

I do realise that you have to have a Nexus device to actually be running Jelly Bean, but in my opinion it’s really the only Android device which can realistically be compared to that other OS’s offering. The Nexus experience is growing and becoming more user friendly. If I think back to only a year ago with Gingerbread for the Nexus S, it was a lot “nerdier” more geared towards coders, customisers and developers than the general public. One had to tinker to get things just right, now, I run a stock rom and only experiment with kernels, because Android has matured. It’s become a real player, not just for the nerds, but for everyone.

I don’t need to play around with custom kernels, the battery easily lasts a day on a 3G connection, but I like the extra little things a custom kernel offers. Whether it’s getting an AC charge (fast charge) from a USB connection, a high performance sound addition or a sound volume boost, these are the little things that make Android awesome. Next time I’ll start my reporting on custom Jelly Bean kernels for the Galaxy Nexus, so look out for some uber-nerd in the near future.



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