When Apple first announced Siri, I wasn't all that impressed. That's mainly due to the fact the service had already been around for quite some time and was effectively more efficient and powerful before the being swooped up by Apple. Don't believe me? Even the legendary Woz said so himself.
When Google announced its somewhat similar (yet very different) service, Google Now, in late June 2012, I couldn't help but swoon.
On the surface, Google Now and Siri are generally perceived as parallel services for two different platforms. To put it frankly, much of the world likely sees Google Now as … Google's Siri. (Oh, Apple marketing.) For anyone who has actually used the two services in any sort of capacity, it's obvious that Google Now is a much more elaborate and reliable service. It is superior not only in function but in consistency. And, much of the time, it requires no interaction from the user. And that's what truly sets these two services apart. (Not to mention, Google Now is strictly business while Siri is a little more lighthearted and doesn't always give you a straight answer.)
I could write thousands of words on how the two services differ. To briefly name a few: image search, barcode scanner, package tracking, flight information, hotel reservations, pedometer, etc. Google Now has all of these things (and much more), Siri does not. But that's not my point. Hundreds of people have nitpicked the differences in Siri and Google Now since June 2012. We get it. The two services are totally different once you get inside.
I have had my ups and downs with Siri. I used it for a couple weeks after upgrading the iPhone 4S. But after the novelty of asking Siri where I can hide a body and what the meaning of life is, I essentially had no use for the service and no time for her silly antics.
Nowadays, I long-press the home button on my iPhone to ask Siri what the weather is like. That's it. No, seriously. That is all I have used Siri for since I activated my iPhone 5. (Likely long before that, too.) I don't ask Siri for movie times and I don't tell her to make notes or reminders for me. I don't tell her to call people or send messages for me. I do all those things myself, manually, because I'm a stickler for formatting and correctness.
On the flip side, I have come to use Google Now almost religiously, especially when traveling. But I don't only rely on it when I'm hundreds of miles from home. I use it every day for a multitude of things.
When I wake up in the morning, I fire up Google Now and check the weather. At a glance, I also check for Hurricanes games, whatever nearby events are listed and any other information Google Now automatically tells me – tracked packages, new places I should visit or my next appointment.
Throughout the day, I reach for my phone to do quick voice searches. Many of those are for on the fly definitions or fact checking. I look up businesses and other points of interest, too. And if I'm out and have a fairly long drive home, I always check my notifications to see if Google Now has notified me of any traffic delays on the commute home.
I have never been a huge sports fan. But I do enjoy a few different sports, especially hockey. I've tried keeping up with it for the last three years, but have continually failed. I stick to checking standings, upcoming games and scores for a few weeks. Then I get derailed and completely lose track of everything. Google Now does all the hard work for me – it tells gives me real time scores and notifies me of upcoming games without me ever having to do anything. And it doesn't bombard me with information; it only tells me what I want to know about the teams I like to follow.
Rather than a novelty, Google Now has always felt like a one stop shop for almost everything I need. It's a long way from replacing all the other apps on my phone, but its ever-increasing utility is astounding. More so than the next major Android update, I'm more interested in what Google can do with Google Now in future updates. Personally, I'd like to see a more frequent update on the pedometer, a more aggressive and robust approach to events and local hot spots and possibly integrated package tracking information (versus having to navigate outside of Google Now for the deets).
Unlike Siri, with which my usage has fluctuated from using it a little to not using it at all, I have used Google Now consistently since I first got my hands on it. There was a time I went without while using the One X. But ever since switching to the Galaxy Note II (and now the Nexus 4), I have used Google Now almost every single day.
Tell me, ladies and gents. Do you find yourself using Google Now regularly? If so, what for? And to you iOS users out there, do you still use Siri? Oh, and lest we forget Windows Phone fans. Do you wish you had a context aware personal assistant service?