Maybe Google should keep Now an Android exclusive

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from Arizona
Published: March 12, 2013

Outside of the changes that Google has introduce for their mobile platform over the years, I think the biggest benefit to Android is Google Now. This is a feature that should simply be wildly popular. It’s one of those things that if I find someone who has an Android phone, and hasn’t upgraded to Android 4.1 when they can, I make a solid case why they absolutely need to do it right away. It isn’t necessary, so to speak, but now that I’m not using it every single day I may reconsider that.

Don’t get me wrong, Siri is still good for what she does, but I’ve just grown to like Google Now more.

In fact, I haven’t been bashful about my favor of Google’s all-knowing personal assistance software. It’s just one of those things that comes to the mobile market only every once in a little while. It’s unique enough. And for those who use it, it can turn out to be an integral part of your day without any warning at all.

I’ve asked in the past if you thought Google should bring Google Now to other platforms. More often than not I think cross platform features are a better bet. It allows for more people to use your service. Even if Samsung wishes everyone used a Samsung-branded product, they understand that that is just not the case. Google knows they make money from their services, no matter how they get those services to people, which is one reason it isn’t a surprise to see so many Google apps are the most popular in Apple’s App Store.

More recently, though, I brought up that my love for Google Now, and how much I’ve integrated the feature into my life, would lead me to pay for Google Now if Google wanted me to. In that particular article, I felt it was essential to ask if you’d pay to bring Google Now to another platform, if given the chance. There are so many productivity applications out there that charge you right from the start, and considering Google Now’s efficiency, I don’t think it’s that crazy to think someone out there might want to buy it.

Especially if it meant they could add the feature to their mobile OS that isn’t Android.

Earlier today, a promotional video for Google Now was apparently released onto YouTube, and then pulled down relatively quickly. Of course, something that interesting doesn’t stay hidden, and Engadget was able to report on it before the video was taken offline. The video, which you can check out through our own Alex Wagner’s report, shows Google Now working on Apple’s iPhone, and iPad.

The report suggests that Google would be adding Now to the already present Google Search app, which would make sense. It’s built into the Search app within an Android device, anyway, so it would make sense for that inclusion in the iOS app, too. I watched the promotional video, and it looks like Google Now for iOS would be just about everything I want it to be.

After having a quick conversation about it with a colleague, it was brought up to me that Google Now for iOS wouldn’t run in the background in the same way that Google Now does for Android. That’s true. But that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t work. Apple’s Notification Center, and the notifications in general, would mean that Google Now would work in sort of the same way in iOS that it does in Android. You’d get notified that a hockey game was starting, for example. The weather? Same deal. Just open up Google Now, and you’ve got the information you need, ready to go.

It would still be able to notify you of packages, for example. Flight times? Same deal. I think the only tricky part would be the functionality integrated with Google Maps on Android devices. I wonder if Google would have to make Google Search/Now work with Apple Maps. Would people want that? An interesting question, anyway.

So, unless this video is just completely fake, it looks like Google is indeed gearing up to bring Now to iOS. So, I should be a happy camper, right? Well, yes, and I am. I desperately want Google Now on my iPhone. So, I’m excited about that.

But I think Google should keep Google Now on Android, too. Just from an Android perspective. Business, if you will. I know there are plenty of reasons why people choose Android over iOS, or any mobile platform over another, but for me, personally, I think Google Now is the only real reason why I want an Android device anymore. (An Android device that isn’t a Galaxy Note II, mind you.) Don’t get me wrong, as I’ve said in the past Android 4.1+ is amazing, and I love the changes that Google has brought to the mobile OS. But I just don’t have any reason to switch from iOS, and stay switched.

Google Now is that reason, and I know that it could be a reason for many people, once they get Android 4.1 on their device. Google makes money from their services, no matter how those services reach customers, but Google Search is already on iOS. So, that’s good. I’d wager that it’s good enough, too. Keeping Google Now on Android means that Android, among other features that people can name, has something that iOS, and every other mobile platform, doesn’t have.

So what do you think of this promotional video? Do you think Google would bring Google Now to iOS? Should they bring Google Now to iOS? Or do you agree that Google should try to keep one of Android’s best exclusive features on Android? Let me know.