Google Now is one of the most popular features of Android and possibly one of most-liked in mobile in general. The feature aims to offer up information that you need without making you track it down, and it’ll learn your interests and comb your email for info to do it, presenting things like sports scores and travel info all in one place.
Google Now is available in the Google app on iOS, but it’s not as powerful as it is on Android. The good news for iOS users is that Apple is allegedly building a Google Now competitor for iOS.
A report from 9to5Mac claims that Apple is working on a service codenamed “Proactive” that’ll basically be a version of Google Now for iOS. The feature will allegedly be placed to the left of the home screen, which is where Spotlight search used to be on iOS. The Proactive screen may offer a search bar at its top for finding contacts, apps, and songs like Spotlight does now. Below that bar may sit content pulled from your apps, contacts, and maps. For example, Proactive will show a boarding pass from your Passbook when it nears the time that your Calendar says your flight is going to take off. Also said to be included are maps and estimated travel time to appointments, alerts for calendar events, and more.
Also reportedly coming with Proactive are integration with commonly used apps. One example could be that if iOS recognizes that you frequently launch Twitter when you wake up at 8:00 am, Proactive could show a quick link to Twitter around that time. Apple is also said to be prepping augmented reality maps and Browse Around Me features for using Proactive to find nearby points of interest. Finally, a “Breadcrumbs” API will allegedly let users call on Siri to launch frequently used parts of apps. Apple is said to be interested in full-on third-party support for Siri, but privacy concerns have caused Apple to put that feature on hold.
It’s said that Apple has been working on Proactive for years, and while the feature could arrive with iOS 9, Apple’s goal of focusing on stability for its next major iOS update may cause Proactive to be pushed out. It’s also possible that Apple could break Proactive into separate updates for current features.
As I said before, Google Now is widely adored, and so it’s exciting to hear that Apple is working on its own version of Now for iOS users. Sure, Google Now is available on iOS, but Apple’s version should be much more nicely integrated. The one thing is that Google’s got a lot of experience and data with Google Now, though, and Apple’s Proactive is brand new. Apple has apparently been working on Proactive for quite a while, so it’ll be interesting to see what it was able to come up with.