From this review of the new Android operating system (made by Google), we get this description of the very futuristic sounding (and privacy damaging, I assume) Google Now:
With Android 4.1 Google have introduced a major new feature called “Google Now’. It is a kind of self aware personal organiser/assistant, designed to serve up useful information based on your location and behaviour. It sounds pretty ominous, but it’s actually quite brilliant. By analysing your search terms and cross-referencing them with your calendar and current location, Google Now provides an array of useful information without any effort on your part.
It provides public transport information when you’re near a bus stop or train station, it suggests places to eat and visit when you’re away travelling, as well as up-to-date weather, sports results for your favourite teams and routes back to your home when you’re out and about. It even takes real-time traffic data into consideration when suggesting your route home, then estimates your arrival time accordingly.
All of this is achieved without the user entering in any information. It intelligently guesses where you live and work, what teams you support, even which flights you might be taking, all with surprising accuracy. This is all thanks to the insight it gains from the location and use of your smartphone within the Google ecosystem. The results are elegantly displayed in a series of informative and well-designed cards, which you can simply swipe away with your finger if they are no longer needed.
This might sound a little ‘Big Brother-esque’ on paper, but Google Now manages to present the information it interprets in a very user-friendly and unobtrusive way. Rather than feeling like an invasion of privacy, it feels more like an essential addition to the modern mobile experience.