Apr 29 AT 2:08 PM Dustin Earley 61 Comments

Google Now released for iOS; where does it end?

Google Now iOS

Where iOS users have Siri (Apple’s virtual assistant) all to themselves, Android users have Google Now–Google’s virtual assistant, complete with automated mind-bending location-aware information, ready when you need it, without ever having to ask for it. That changes today, though. Google has updated its iOS search app to include Google Now, which begs the question: Where does it end?

In an update to their search app available on iPhone and iPad, Google has included a nearly feature-complete version of Google Now. The only things Google Now for iOS is missing that Android users get an exclusive hold on (for now) are seven cards and the ability to use heavy background syncing. Of course Android users get better Google Now integration, with a dedicated search bar available for your home screens and gesture launch support, but that’s it.

While Google hasn’t been shy about bringing flagship services and apps over from Android to iOS, they’re treading a fine line between improving services by gathering a larger audience and limiting the competitive power of their own operating system. If all of Android’s best services and apps are available on the iPhone, yet Apple’s best features will never touch a Nexus device, why should you buy Android?

There are still plenty of reasons people will choose Android, but there’s no denying just how big a selling point Google Now was for the platform. Will Android ever get its own flagship service all to itself?

Source: Google

Dustin Earley: Tech enthusiast; avid gamer; all around jolly guy.

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  • dhilby09

    Seriously? I don’t think you understand Google at all. They are not in the market to make and sell phones.

    • LukeT32

      Agreed… it is all about the AD $$$$$

      I don’t Apple offers anything I want anyway. :D

      • Dustin Earley

        Where are the ads in Google Now?

        • http://www.anthonydomanico.com Anthony Domanico

          This is the wrong question.

        • LukeT32

          There not in Google Now, but Google uses the information you search for to tailor the ads to you… just like they do in GMail and what not.

      • epps720

        While I do agree with how Google obviously makes their money is through AD revenue. I think they should still separate the two platforms through some of their offerings (ie Google Now).

        On average I guarantee Google makes more money in ad revenue through an Android phone. An iOS user has to manually select Chrome to use it, if they click a link in an email it won’t use Chrome while Android has it defaulted in stock (obviously you can choose otherwise). Google spent all this time creating these great Apps but need to leave some specific to Android to attempt to lure iOS users over for these services. Don’t forget that Google also makes revenue through Google Play store and add revenue through the apps in the Play store as well.

        • Ryan

          On average, you’re right. But your point is not entirely accurate — you can change the default iPhone browser using “BrowserChooser” and any jailbroken iPhone (which yes, there are a lot of people who haven’t jailbroken, but just with the latest envasi0n update, 18.2 million people had used it before the new patch.

          • herbivore83

            There are more than 1 Billion smartphone users in the world and iPhone has a 28.7% market share as of last year. That’s 310 Million iPhones, which means less than 6% of iPhone users jailbreak. His point, while not 100% true, is valid.

      • LukeT32

        *don’t need

      • zach

        Actually, it’s all about the data money. Google makes money on selling data analytics. They want iOS users using their services because that means they get them in their sample they accumulate data from and can sell to other companies.

        Some would be concerned about this, but this kind of selling isn’t what the user should be concerned about. Worst case scenario with this is targeted adds that become annoying.

    • vforvortex

      On the plus side, more users using Google Now means more data gathered which in turn makes the service better. And we all win. :)

      Similar to how Apple users know how much better Google Maps is to iOs maps, now they will know how much better Google Now is to Siri.

    • Dustin Earley

      They are making and selling phones though. Through Motorola, and through partnerships with other manufacturers. They’ve publicly said they aren’t losing money on products like the Nexus 4 and 7. So they just shouldn’t care about giving any of their products a competitive edge? Google won’t survive forever as an ad platform, and they know it. Why do you think Google X even exists?

      • dhilby09

        Seriously, you don’t think Google will survive with their ad revenue? So you think they are making a move to sell hardware? And you think that this is what Google thinks? And on top of that you now think Google is intentionally putting themselves at a disadvantage in the smartphone business by not being exclusive. The fact Google makes their products available for all platforms should put this theory of yours to rest.

        See Ardrid’s comment below.

        • Dustin Earley

          Ardrid’s comment, “So long as Google’s main source of income is search and advertising, the answer to that question is no,” makes a lot of sense. But competition in the ad market has never been fiercer. Facebook, Twitter, Vox, Apple and Amazon are all looking at how to cash in on the webs most lucrative money making opportunity. Which is precisely why Google is looking at how to make money elsewhere. Google has their hands in everything right now. From home Internet and television service, to computer and smartphone hardware manufacturing. All I was trying to say is that some day, maybe sooner than later, Google could be making more money on hardware than on ads. Should Google begin to prepare for that time, or start to push their products into that direction? It depends on where Google wants to eventually end up. With the things they’ve been doing outside of advertising, it looks like they may eventually head there. For right now, of course Google would miss out on a ton of money by not putting their core services, and ads, on iOS devices. I never said Google will make less money by putting Google Now on iOS. It is my opinion that for Android to lost that particular service as exclusive, Android loses a bit of a competitive edge.

      • Chris Lewis

        So when what that announcement for Google X??? Goole makes plenty of money with adds, and is pretty well diversified in many different industries (fiber, glass, android, search..exc). Doubt their strategy is to become a major competitor in smartphone manufacturing. Maybe in the long term, but even with that it will be just a fraction of their overall revenue.

    • Chris Lewis

      Yes, you are right because Google has never actually made a phone…As far as understanding goes, they know damn well what they are doing. The number 1 reason of a corporation is to increase the wealth of its shareholders and Google is doing just that by expanding the capabilities of its search app on IOS. It would be like google not offering gmail or google maps for ios.

      Dont get me wrong here Im 100% about android, but I could give a shit what google releases for ios because its completely irrelevant to any device I use. If anything, this will some shine some light on apple fans to consider switching to android.

      Lets get to the real question of betrayal here… THIS ISNT ANDROID NEWS….

    • dreamstar

      Just like the iphone was basically a samsung device designed by apple, ios was a platform packed with google apps by default. Not easy to make a switch away from it for apple. Google has great apps and they know it so offering them on the iphone is a great move, many people will love it and then there is google glass, probably with build in google now, a device apple doesn’t have so even if yiu love your idevice, google will pull you over to their glass or even android.

  • surethom

    So Google can spend time & money on Google now for iOS (which I understand it will make them money) but will not give ics android phones Google now ???

    • Chris

      Exactly,I almost wanna give the middle finger to Google and switch to iPhone even though that OS sucks ass. F*ck you Google

      • Scirca

        Kind of ironic how you have to get away from Google to get closer to them.
        Bringing Google Now to ICS is not something that will happen in the near future. Instead of bickering about Google not bringing Now to ICS, bicker to your manufacturer for not upgrading your phone to JB or get a Nexus lol…

  • thel0nerang3r

    Also, it doesn’t work as well as it does in Android. If people in IOS like it, it’s a hook to switch to Android, since it works better in Android. Beside, other then IOS users, who cares that IOS has it? it doesn’t diminish my enjoyment of it on Android.

    • Tico4674

      I agree, hopefully this will work in a positive fashion and lure iPhone users to android. I’ll have to test it on a friend’s iPhone to see how it works.

      • R.S

        That’s not how iPhone users work/think.

        IMO, one of two things will happen.

        1) They won’t know that the Android version has more features and simply won’t like it. Their version may not be enough for them to actually like it so they’ll simply not use it.

        2) They’ll think that Google purposely left out features and feel angry and resentful towards Google.

        Don’t believe me, take Google maps for example. I don’t know how the latest iOS version is but the older version was no where near as good as it was on Android. Did that convince iOS users to switch? NOPE! They simply hated the app and talked about how crappy it was without even realizing that Apple was to blame.

        • Tico4674

          Good point!

    • epps720

      Question is how will an iOS user know their version is any different that the Android version. I would have never known the Facebook App was different on iOS and Android unless I read it on these blogs (most people aren’t techies).

    • aranea

      This is exactly what I was thinking. They will see how much they are missing by the limitations of iOS on Now and will begin to notice limitations on other apps. On the other hand some will never switch from iOS to Android. Never with a capital “N” even when iphone uses technology 3 generations behind (unlike now only about 0.5-1 generation behind). So there is no reason in loosing them in google’s perspective.

      And google kept lots of goodies to Android only long enough to make many iOS users switch or at least complain a lot such as many features in maps including the most useful turn by turn navigation. Even right now google maps in iOS is missing directions for biking. And some iphone users, who are also bikers are looking at the android for that.

  • vidad5

    • thel0nerang3r

      On the last frame, he hits the ground…. I still don’t get it. It’s a cool picture though.

  • Leo209

    I love Android, don’t get me wrong, but if Google is updating Android exclusive apps on iOS, I am for the first time considering an iPhone. Yes Android is very customizable and that’s great, but I personally don’t use all the customizable features enough to say that this is a reason i should stay with Android. I have never considered The iPhone since I had the G1, so believe me when I say I’ve been all for Android, but now that might start changing. I listen to a lot of music on my phone and IMO iTunes is very polished and is one of the big things that is making me consider changing if iOS now has a lot of Android’s once exclusive/better apps. I’d like to stay with Android so hoping Google does something with Android that is mind blowing at Google IO this year.

    • Max.Steel


  • Hershell Tidwell

    This is not good news for the fanboys.

  • Edward

    The iphone version is not as robust as the Android version. Then again, nothing is quite as robust on iphone as it is on Android. I have the iphone 5, but I am waiting for the next Nexus. Having used Google Now on the previous Nexus 4, I can say that this feature for the iPhone just seems like something tacked on. I love having traffic and stocks, but I am curious if the steps walked and some of the other features will work.

  • shadhussain

    At the end of the day Google Now is simply an app. People choose Android because of how integrated all of Google’s services are, how flexible the platform is in terms of customization and above how much choice in price one can get.

    Regardless of personal OS biases, in real life, all smartphones and OSes can “do the job” these days for 90% of the population. Despite iOS always having “more” and apparently “better” apps, Android has always been more affordable and overall more accessible to the masses.

    So back to the original point, no, Google Now is not why people buy Android.

  • Ardrid

    “Will Android ever get its own flagship service all to itself?”

    So long as Google’s main source of income is search and advertising, the answer to that question is no. While I understand the desire to have an exclusive service that separates iOS from Android, people need to be cognizant of the fact that Google is still running a business and will do whatever it can to further that business, including sharing services with rival platforms. That said, because of Apple’s restrictions, iOS’ implementation of Google Now will never be as robust as Android’s native/integrated solution. Android devices will continue to outsell iOS devices, this new development notwithstanding.

  • Cliff

    so iOS users get it when ICS users don’t?!?!

  • Chris

    This guy swears siri is actually a useful app.

  • Paul Cook

    So just got the Google Now update on my iPhone 4S, yet my Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 cannot run it as its only on Android 4.0 rather than the required 4.1

    Seems like Google are shooting themselves in the foot a little when you cant use their own apps/features on their (only slightly) older OS

  • OOMatter

    You lost me when you said “Apple’s best features will never touch a Nexus device”. Seriously, I have no idea what would be in that category.

    • prophet94

      Apple’s best features:

      1) Slide to Unlock
      2) Slide to pick up call
      3) extra high screen brightness
      4) Back to point 1)

  • chris mcclellan

    +1000. Great post

  • http://droidsamurai.blogspot.com DroidSamurai

    The funny thing is — if Google can make Google Now working on iOS, why couldn’t they make it work on Gingerbread? It’s totally sh*t on Android fans’ faces. C’mon, Google, you can do better than that.

    Now, back to the reason why Google should make its greatest products on the iOS, I can think up of a couple of them:

    1) Warning to Samsung — you better keep bundling Google’s apps and services ’cause people like ours, not some “S-” imitations.

    2) Getting iPhone users hooked on Google services — like it or not, Apple is rolling out services similar to Google’s offerings. Google better make iOS users addicted to Google’s services ASAP, so that switching down the road becomes incredibly difficult for them. Or, even better, they get so addicted that they simply choose to switch to Android.

    3) Just follow what Microsoft has done in the past using Office for Mac — even if people stick with their iPhone, Google can still be able to profit from them

  • Nathan D.

    Lol, it not as good though.

  • Jack Stephenson

    What if what google was doing was all leading up to an attack on apple. Slowly but surely, google kills apple’s software innovations like maps and siri by introducing its own goodies, until one day it removes everything, google search, youtube, google maps, google now, gmail, ect… Destroying almost all functionality of an iphone and pulling all its users to android. Just a thought.

  • Wardell

    If I were a iPhone owner using most of Google’s products on my phone (Gmail, Maps, Now). I think I’d be that much more comfortable switching to Android if I ever got tired of the iPhone.

    • Paul Atreides

      Thank you.

  • jacobsloan

    I don’t really see anything wrong with Google building these apps on iOS. More users will only lead to more innovation and support for these apps we know and love by Google, and I didn’t buy into Android to have an exclusive on Google products and services.

  • merdas

    I’m sold my first tablet will be an iPad!!

  • donger

    Use it everyday.

  • inviolable

    I think you miss the point. The fact that Google has so many apps on their biggest competitor’s platform is as big a deal as it can be. You’ll never see Halo on PlayStation or Uncharted on Xbox, but Google is available on everything, and they’re making money in some way, shape, or form. Really, it’s similar to Google software running on Android phones from different manufacturers. Their reaching as many people as possible, and its working. As far as Apple’s “best” never being on a Nexus, well that can’t happen anyway, because their best is not their own apps. Apple is far behind Google as far as their app suite. They have nothing like YouTube. Gmail has more functionality than what Apple offers. Google has their own social network. Apple Maps is Apple Maps. Apple’s strengths are the OS itself and mindshare, and you explained yourself the difference between Google now on either platform. It’s always came down to usability versus functionality, with Android several steps ahead in the latter.

  • Paul Atreides

    Only fanboys need exclusivity deals.

  • Rob

    The simple fact of the matter is that Android is not a huge priority for Google, ad revenue is. If apple were to waltz up to Google and say listen buddy, we will pay you quadruple your add revenue to kill Android, Google would do it. To Google the OS just a means to get ads in front of your eyes and to build a profile of who you are by your searches. Why you may ask, its because they are running a business. But before your accuse me of disloyalty (I own and have owned more Android devices than you I can guarantee it) apple would do the same if their main revenue was ads. But they are a hardware and software company, so they will never share apps, dont believe me…then why is there a PC version of itunes(not that I would want any of their stuff anyways and I think itunes is a piece of garbage). Remember folks money dictates everything. Your choice of smart phone is not a religion.

    • inviolable

      How can ad revenue be so big for Google while Android not being a big deal at the same time? Android is the epitome of a Trojan horse.

  • Oflife

    Wherever you go, there they are!

  • Matthew

    I think this is great news, Google isn’t about being exclusive, its about being there for everyone, Android is open source after-all :)

  • jamal adam

    More data for Google makes for more accurate information and habits as well as a great avenue to introduce ads that more accurately pertains to the needs/interests of an individual.

  • Dave

    I understand why google is doing this but it still really sucks for all those people on android less than version 4. They should definitely have got NOW working on gingerbread phones before giving it to Apple iSheep

  • Way

    As an iOS user, I don’t understand what you guys are whinging about. After having used google now for a few days its quite meh…


  • MC_Android

    The only thing I find disconcerting is the fact that often, iOS apps made by Google are much more functional and polished that the Android counterpart. Gmail for iOS is a pleasure to use and is definitely easier for the user than Android. I have both so I can speak for experience for at least that one app. Haven’t bothered installing Google Now yet on my iPad but I have no problem as an avid Android fan that Google apps are finding their way to iOS. I don’t see the big concern.