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Google Now arrives on iOS for iPhone and iPad

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Google’s voice controlled assistant, Google Now, has arrived on iOS and looks to be an intelligent Siri rival.

Launching as a new feature in the Google Search app for iPhone and iPad, until now Google Now was an Android exclusive feature, excelling on handsets like the HTC One, Samsung Galaxy S4 and the Google Nexus 4.

The iOS version of Google Now brings the same search features as Android, known as cards. These cards provide summaries based on information like the user’s current location and past actions to bring you information before they’ve even asked for it.

Data on the weather, local attractions, travel information like flights or hotels, news and sports all appear on the Google Now cards and users are given the option to filter them according to their own preferences.

Tipped to be a huge rival to Apple’s own Siri, Google Now is prized for its accuracy.

“We think we’ve built a great experience,” said Tamar Yehoshua, Product Manager of Google Now, speaking at Google’s Headquarters last week. “We’re giving you an answer before you’ve even asked. [Google Now is] able to predict knowledge that you want before you know you want it.”

To use Google Now users will have to sign into their Google account, unlike with the Android version. However, this means Google Now can pull information from the Google Calendar and other apps to make the search function more accurate for each user.

“People got used to using keywords to search because they had to, but it’s not the best way to search. We have implemented just the beginning phases of context and conversation,” added Yehoshua.

Any question asked of Google Now will also list related questions, with Google Now being updated all the time so it can handle much more complex scenarios including integrating other digital services into its functionality.

Google CEO and co-founder Larry Page gave special attention to Google Now in the company’s quarterly earnings call, saying the service’s function “is to get you the right information, at just the right time.”

“Looking for the nearest pharmacy? Just ask Google for directions, and we’ll deliver them instantly. No typing needed,” said Page. “And you can now ask conversational questions like ‘Do I need a jacket this weekend?’”

Google Now for iOS can be downloaded from the App Store now for free within the Google Search app for devices such as the iPhone 5 and iPad mini.

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