When Google released the Google Nexus 7 – 2012 it introduced Android 4.1 Jelly Bean to the world. Jelly Bean incorporated two very important new features, these being Project Butter (designed to help device smoothness) and Google Now. Both of these two features are very much alive and well in Android 5.0 Lollipop and this evening I’m going to write about Google Now, which is controlled by a mix of our Google account, the Google Search application on our device (with integration into the Google Play Services) and of course, Google’s cloud-based infrastructure. With the introduction of Android Lollipop, Google will be updating the Google Search application to version 4.0.26, which is going to include some significant improvements.
The first and most obvious improvement is that Google Search is now rremodeledusing Material Design. Now, I’m quite the fan of Material Design as it manages to be bold, colorful and animates well but also avoids the Fisher Price “my first smartphone” pitfall that Apple appear to have fallen into with the iOS 7 interface. We’ll now see floating items to create new reminders and some cards will have big, bright headers. The main menu will slide in from the edge, as befits Material Design, but there’s a new and stellar feature: multiple Gmail account support. This feature is something I’ve waited for as I have multiple Gmail accounts, although there’s another side effect, which is that it will be easy to set up multiple Google Now profiles.
Google Now is still one of my favorite Google Services; it shows you how much information Google have collected about you and then uses this to build up a profile. My Google account has a keen understanding of where and when I do the things that I do and warns of things that might impede my normal routine. It understands my days working and my days off, even when they change week in, week out. It figured out that I go to the cinema on my day off but when I am working, it doesn’t bother me with cinema listings. Many of the improvements made to Google Now are transparently handled in the background, either by upgrades to the Google server in the cloud somewhere or in updates to Google Play Services sent to my device automatically, but the interface and control layout is controlled by the application. At the time of writing, Google Search 4.0.26 only works on Android 5.0 Lollipop; you can find the APK at the source below but if you install it onto a device not running Android Lollipop, it’s probably not going to work. If you’re not running Android 5.0, I would sit this one out until it’s released for older versions of Android.