Google is the behemoth of the online world; it reaches into almost every facet of online life. But the fact that it touches so much is exactly why Google Now is, perhaps, Google’s most important product to date. To briefly explain, Google Now is next evolution of Google search designed to bring information to us when we need it rather than us having to search for it.
With the success of Android, this is a bold claim to make, but there are three primary reasons why Google Now is the way forward for Google – one of them being Android itself.
1. Android dominance
The way that we use technology has changed dramatically over the past five years; as of Q1 2013, nearly 60% of all global internet users have gone online via their mobile phones. Smartphone users now rely on their devices throughout daily diverse circumstances.
Despite this evolution, the basic ways in which we use the web and web services have not changed. We still type queries and use apps (i.e. software programs) in order to get what we want from the technology.
With Google Now, all of the functionality we have in a smartphone (GPS, sensors, connectivity, etc.) can deliver information in real time without having to search for it. I believe that this is the ultimate vision for Google Now, and Google’s Android OS is the tool they will use to deliver on this vision.
Most importantly for Google, they have a mass audience for which they can deploy Google Now. According to the latest GlobalWebIndex research from Q1 2013, Android users now account for 60% of all smartphone users globally, and this number is forecast to reach 80% by 2016.
2. Google+ growth
Social is a key element for any technology that knows what we need before we do. Knowing our social groups, interests, and social habits will allow Google Now to do more than anticipate where we might want to go to dinner based on our location. Based on restaurant reviews from friends, recommendations from people we follow, or even perhaps what our friends or loved ones are interested in that night, Google Now will offer an unparalleled personal experience.
This is where Google+ comes in. Critically for Google, the social platform is making significant headway in terms of usage. As of Q1 2013, Google+ was the second largest social platform in the world with 359 million monthly active users, according to GlobalWebIndex. Global user engagement is up, registering 33% growth in monthly active users between Q2 2012 and Q1 2013.
As Google+ continues to grow, the rich information offered by Google Now will be continually enhanced. This will create a positive feedback loop and drive usage of Google+, effectively tying Google+ with Google Now.
3. Google Glass
Google Glass is the premier example of wearable computing. For Google Glass to truly transform our daily ways of life, it must seamlessly offer relevant information when we need it with minimal user input. Google Now is Google’s answer to that problem, and will play a key role in the mass-market success of Glass.
Google Now is effectively the next version of Google search, and its success will be driven by the aforementioned factors. Understanding how Google Now works currently will allow marketers and developers alike to prepare for the future. Whether it is getting Google+ working for your brand, ensuring that your campaigns are mobile optimized, or exploring new apps on Glass or Android, Google Now needs to be given consideration.
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