“Google Now” – Creepy or Awesome?

If you have a newer Android phone, you may have noticed a new application called “Google Now” that came with the latest Jelly Bean update.  It definitely pushes the creepy envelope but it’s also incredibly useful.  Google Now combines information it collects from you, like where you are based on your phone’s GPS, reservation confirmations that were sent to your gMail account, searches for your favorite sports team on Google, events on your calendar, etc.

google-now-cards

Access Google Now by holding down the menu button and you’ll be surprised by what you see.  First, current traffic conditions on your route to work or to home, depending where you are.  But how does it know this when you never told Google where you live or work?  Google has learned where you live based on your GPS signal at night and where you work based on your GPS signal during the day.  Once you get over the creepiness, you’ll appreciate how convenient this is.  Google Now will also show you a weather forecast of wherever you are, local events and attractions, nearby movie theatres and show times, nearby restaurants and reviews, and nearby train/subway routes and schedules.

The beauty is that you don’t need to search for any of this, it’s already there.  Search for the Red Sox a lot on Google?  You’ll automatically see scores or upcoming games.  Book a flight and have the confirmation sent to your gMail account?  Google Now will show you your flight status, gate, and boarding pass.  Order a package and have the confirmation sent to your gMail account?  See the shipping status and tracking information.

Some people might find this so creepy that they’ll want to ditch their smartphone for a flip phone, go private when web surfing and go back to using AOL e-mail.  I personally love this stuff.  If technology can make my life easier, I’m all for it.  But this is yet another reminder to be careful of how much information you give companies like Google or Facebook.  It’s scary how much they know about us!

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