Should Google bring Google Now to other platforms?

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from  Arizona
| July 14, 2012

Not too long ago I asked you, Dear Reader, if you thought it would be a good idea for Microsoft to bring Zune Software to iOS (or other platforms, too). My pain point of the article was to talk about cross-platform capabilities, and how that’s always the right way to go. It wasn’t long after that article that Microsoft unveiled Xbox Music at E3, and sure enough the Redmond-based company is bringing the platform to iOS and Android at some point in the near future.

So consider this article a wish, with fingers crossed that maybe we can all work together to predict the future once again.

When Google unveiled Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, there were two really big parts to the announcement: Project Butter and Google Now. While the former may all be about what goes under the hood, the end result is something that the user can see each time they pick up their phone and start playing around with it. However, it’s Google Now that has everyone excited for the newest version of the mobile OS, and it’s one reason why people were scrambling to get a Galaxy Nexus – the only device guaranteed to have the update anytime soon.

There are a lot of comparisons to Google Now and Apple’s Siri, but I think that’s just because those folks don’t have anything else to compare it to. Apple’s Siri is a digital personal assistant (and yes, it can be creepy), built to interact with you in a conversation. You talk to "her," and she talks back, and sets up things you need set up. While Google Now, on the other hand, is built to help you search better, and learn about you, taking the conversation out of it for all intents and purposes. After a short period of time, Google Now will learn your agenda, what you need to do at some point during the week or day, and give you relevant information to that goal.

Need to drive somewhere for a meeting? Not only will Google Now tell you how to get there, but it will also tell you the driving conditions, too. What’s better, though, is that Google Now will also tell you when you should leave, with all of that information compiled, so that you make it on time to your appointment. Google Now is a lot of things, and it is certainly a feature that people want.

But not everyone wants to switch to Android to get it. Or maybe not the Galaxy Nexus. There are a lot of different reasons why people may not be willing to move to a device they don’t want, or a mobile OS they aren’t particular fond of (if only because they like another one better), but that doesn’t mean they don’t want Google Now. Google did a great job with it, so of course people would want it.

So make it cross-platform. Bring Google Now to iOS. (I’d say that Google Now should launch for Windows Phone, too, but I don’t really see that happening. Not in its current state, anyway. Maybe someday!) It isn’t a secret that Google has absolutely no qualms about bringing their features or services to iOS, and I honestly don’t see why this would be any different. As of right now, just recently, Google launched both Google Chrome and Google Drive for iOS, and that’s just in addition to services like Google+ and Google+ Local that are already on Apple’s mobile operating system.

Let’s be honest: there wouldn’t have to be a lot of changes made at face value. After all, if you’re not actively using Google Now on your phone, you get a standard notification in the Notification Bar letting you know that Google Now has been updated. Need to leave for an appointment? You’ll see it in the Notification Bar before you’ll have to open up Google Now and see the rest of the information. That same thing could happen with an iOS banner at the top of your display, and then it sits nicely in the Notification Center until you activate it.

And then you’re in the Google Now app, built for iOS. Just as we’ve seen in apps like Google+, we can assume that Google Now would have a unique look for iOS, but the functionality would be the same. You’d still be able to find out driving conditions, weather, and when you need to leave. The only part I could see causing a problem is the lack of Google Maps in iOS 6. That would cause a significant lack of functionality in most situations, which wouldn’t be good for obvious reasons.

I think it’s perfect possible that Google could bring Google Now to other platforms, especially iOS. They’ve shown that they are more than willing to bring their services to Apple’s mobile OS, and I can hope that that doesn’t stop here and now. Google Now would be an incredible application to have on the new iPhone (or the iPhone 4S, for that matter).

So what do you think? Should Google bring their new feature to other platforms, or should the company keep it as an Android exclusive? Would you download Google Now on your non-Android phone if you had the chance? Let me know, Dear Reader!