I would pay to have Google Now

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from  Arizona
| February 23, 2013

There are a lot of services out there. Cloud-based or otherwise, there are plenty of options out there for anyone who needs an application to get something done. Different calendars. Different calculators. Different apps to see how the weather is outside. If you prefer connected apps, that provide some kind of link between different applications, then services like Evernote should make your life on a BlackBerry 10-based device better, for example. Or, if you prefer a service that makes life right on your phone easier, Apple’s Siri is a pretty safe bet.

I can’t even count on all my fingers and toes how many services I’ve used over the years. Things that sounded great at the time, and probably were while I was trying them out. As I’ve outlined several times in the past, most of my services focus on the cloud, and making sure that my things can be accessed no matter where I am.

I love services, though. I love things that make my life, at least in one capacity, easier. That’s why, while I was shocked overall, it probably shouldn’t have been all that surprising I started using Siri as often as I did. I’ll always admit that Siri is great, for what she does. Her conversational nature is awesome. The fact you can ask her to tell you a story is cool, even if it doesn’t really serve an overall purpose. (Except to show she can talk to you. Besides, it’s fun to show off – when it works.)

The problem with Siri isn’t Siri. It isn’t the iPhone. It isn’t even iOS. The only problem with Siri, that I can find, is that Google Now exists.

When Google Now was first announced, I wasn’t convinced. In fact, I wrote a piece about how our features are starting to leave our batteries behind. On paper, Google Now sounded like it was just going to consume battery life, and not feel bad about it at all. And, somewhere deep down inside my head, I still feel that way. Even when I’m using Google Now, I’m worried how much the service is impacting my battery. And then I inevitably ask myself the same question, over and over again:

Is it worth it?

I would venture to say that I’m not the only one who would say that battery life is one of the most important parts of our phones. In fact, maybe the most important part. After all, we can’t enjoy those cool features if our battery is dead. We need one, to enjoy the other.

The thing is, even if I’m still paranoid about it, I haven’t seen Google Now eat up more battery than I think it should. I use Google Now from the start of my day to the very wee hours of the morning, the next day, and my battery doesn’t seem to be all that affected by it. Even with the new widget, which means I’m interacting with the service even more than I was before, my battery life isn’t dreadfully impacted.

Which means that Google Now is something I’d pay for. I’ve thought about it long and hard. It isn’t because Google Now is a free service, embedded in devices with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean or higher that I like it so much, or use it so often. I thought that it might be, back when I first integrated the service into my life, but that’s just not the case. Because I know that I’d be willing to pay for it to have it.

I’d pay to have Google Now on iOS. On Windows Phone. BlackBerry 10. Even Ubuntu for phones. Google Now is a service that can be enjoyed by anyone who uses Google services, including just Gmail and Maps, and is “limited” only by the fact that you can only get it if you’re running an Android-based device. And the right version of Android, of course.

Exclusive services aren’t new. They aren’t going away anytime soon, either. But, Google makes a lot of money from their non-exclusive services. We know that, because some of the most popular applications people install on their devices, like their iPhone, are Google-branded services. Like Gmail, or Maps, or even Search. Google’s services are an important aspect to people’s lives, which is why Google Now just makes so much sense outside of the Android ecosystem.

I’ve asked in the past if you think Google should launch Google Now onto other platforms, but I’m expanding that question a bit now. It may be a lofty dream that we get Google Now on something like iOS or Windows Phone, let alone any other mobile platform, but what if people were willing to pay something for the app itself? Google’s not known for charging for their applications, but I think Google Now could be the exception.

So would you be willing to pay for Google Now, if it meant you could have the service on your phone of choice? Let me know!