by Ant Pruitt
In June of 2012, Google launched Google Now, advertised as a service that brought you “information you need, before you even ask.” It brought all that big data it was collecting right to your phone. Hands-free, reports on traffic, the weather, sets reminders, sends messages and so on.
Today Google Now is much more than that. It takes connectedness to a whole new level making it a very useful travel app.
Let’s look at these situations where the app is very handy. Do you have a special occasion about a two-hour drive away? Google Now will remind you when it’s time to leave for your destination. Have a flight planned to a different coast for work? Google Now will show your boarding information at a glance. I personally like notifications that offer up different restaurants in proximity to my hotel. The foodie in me loves to eat local cuisine when I travel. Finding these gems would be much harder without it.
How Does Google Now Work?
It’s quite simple: Install the Google Search app on your mobile phone. The app will need to be configured for voice commands and location access. Just enable this in the settings screen with a few clicks. When enabled, Google Now will offer info cards that display pertinent data regarding your travel. Weather, lodging and popular restaurants in the area will display your screen. In the screenshot below, you can see that Google Now knows I’m not at my home in Lowell, North Carolina. Therefore, a Marvin, South Carolina, info card is displayed giving me the weather forecast.
The Tricky Part
Users worried about privacy may have concerns with The Google Now. In addition to allowing the app access to your location, you also have to enable Gmail access. Having access to your email (Gmail specifically) allows Google Now to remind you about reservations and confirmations associated with your trip. Yes, a Gmail account is advised for better functionality. Just having a Google Apps account doesn’t mean Google Now will access your email. When you have your hotel confirmation sent to you via your Gmail address, Google Now will be sure to display notifications at the appropriate time while you are checking in.
If you’re looking for a virtual assistant and a deeper local travel experience, the app does a great job of providng information based on your itinerary and location. Google Now uses the data it gathers from your schedule and email to determine the applicable area of your trip and informs you about local favorites that are often not apparent to visitors. Be sure to grab Google Now for your mobile device and make the most of your trip.
Ant is a tech pro and writes about support, modern tech and photography. When Ant is not snapping photos on his smartphone, he’s actively engaging the photography community. Ant writes for Tech Republic.