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Google Now failed me (jeena.net)
7 points by jeena on June 6, 2014 | hide | past | favorite | 10 comments


> Because it is my work phone and doesn't relate to me as a private person too much I thought I could try Google Now which is advertised as a help in life without the need of you adding data manually.

The whole premise of Google Now is that it is a help in life "without the need of you adding data manually" because it leverages information from your Google Account which, presumably, does relate to your "life as a private person" quite deeply.

If your whole basis for trying it out in a particular context is that that context is isolated from most of your life, yeah, its not going to work.

It's like choosing to try out a Ferrari in the middle of the Sahara desert because its isolated from paved roads.

My experience is similar: Started off as a light and resistant Google user, learned about Now, decided to go all-in, so that The Google could know so much about me it would tell me and show me useful things.

At first, maybe it did. Over time results have seemed to become random and uninteresting, as others have suggested.

"Google Now == Great Big Meh" in my book.

Does Google suffer from "shiny" disorder? Do they come up with cool ideas, jump on, do cool stuff, only to get distracted when things get challenging? That would explain Now and a great many other things.

I use Now and I do heavily use my Google Account (logged in Google searches, Chrome with Chrome sync tied to my account across multiple devices, Gmail, etc.) -- and Now does quite a lot for me. Updates to blogs I visit regularly get shown on Now. I get reminders based on flight itineraries that are in my Gmail (e.g., when my wife is travelling and forwards me her itinerary) without taking any action to make it happen, including notifications of flight delays. It provides travel times to places I frequently travel. It suggests pages I might be interested in based on previous browsing happens -- which seemed wierd at first, but I found some interesting things that way that I might have otherwise not run into.

I haven't exactly found much of a use case for it - I juggle iOS and Android and as far as I'm concerned iOS cribbed the most useful bits (upcoming appointments and predicted commute times).

Being more of a music guy than a sports fan, too much of what I'm actually interested in is just not hooked into Google. If Now could aggregate band/comedian tours stopping in town, album releases, local symphonic events, I'd use it every day. I wish it could alert me when a new Netflix series I'm into is premiering. I'm surprised that none of the big players have aquired Songkick, which is what I use for these kinds of events, or something similar.

When I first saw 'Now' suggest "You need to leave now to make it for $your calendar event" I thought it was super cool and it was one of the reasons I got Android.

But nowdays I don't use it. The clever reminder is too random to be relied upon (I guess it has trouble recognizing addresses which include company or building name) and rest of the cards are either wrong or irrelevant.

To make things worse Nexus5+KitKat desperately pushes 'Now': left unremovable homescreen = Now, top unremovable search bar = Now, bottom unremovable swipe = Now. Now! Now! (I've had to remove Google launcher just to get rid of it).

Besides being stupid, the main problem with Google Now and other "predictive" assistants is that they have no understanding of intent/context.

Google Now would often display travel time to locations and other irrelevant information based on my recent searches. Even though the information was irrelevant. It had no idea WHY I searched for a restaurant in Bordeaux, for example. Sigh. Pointless indeed.

That is an interesting perspective. For me, I find Google Now rather convenient. I don't have to look up the weather in my current location. I don't have to dig through my emails to find which flight I am on. It brings up the traffic-adjusted time to get home right when I finish up work.

None of these are things I couldn't live without; most just save a click or two. But I find them useful.

Now helps me with traffic.

If I was into any of the big American sports I think it would be cool. Alas, my interest is in Formula 1 and Rugby Union, neither of which have any coverage in Now.

Also, because I tend to not watch either of these sports live, I suspect that Now would just spoilerize my interests anyway.

Works very well for me. Shows me my flights & flights of relatives and status of their flights. Shows me meeting reminders and traffic to there. Also, tracks packages that come through on email along with hotel bookings.

On nexus 5 and primary phone for all emails.

Google now will occasionally alert me to heavy traffic on the way home. That's about it.

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