Google released a new ad for its Nexus 4 phone that shows off the power of Google Now. In the ad, users around the world are shown using various features of Google Now, a service that is designed to display useful information at just the right time. Google Now is designed to compete with Apple's Siri, a popular voice-enabled service on the iPhone.
While Apple's Siri personal assistant can provide useful information that's similar to some of the information Google Now offers, Siri is designed to be used with your voice. In contrast, Google's Now takes information from your schedule, location, the weather, etc., and uses it to provide you with helpful and relevant information in the form of cards. For example, in the ad Google Now alerts a musician about an upcoming appointment and then helps her find the best train so she can make it to her destination in time. While Siri may be able to tell you about the upcoming appointment, she won't give you a heads-up that you need to leave 15 minutes early because of traffic delays.
In the ad, Google demonstrates a number of other features of Google Now that are designed to make you more aware of the world around you including the ability to find nearby restaurants and translate words while traveling. Of course, Siri can translate words and find nearby restaurants too, so these features aren't exactly revolutionary.
Google's latest ad ends with a heartfelt picture of a dad and son connecting via a Google Hangout while the father is traveling in a different country. Although many of the Google Now features are useful, it's nice to see Google still remembers our phones are designed to help us keep in touch with the people we love.
Google Now can do much more than we see in the latest ad. For example, it can also display the latest sports scores in real time, help you purchase tickets to an event, remind you of friends' birthdays, alert you to nearby events, and more.
Even though Google Now offers some useful information that Siri can't provide at the moment, we doubt these features are enough to convince users to jump ship from iOS to Android. However, this ad is better than many of Google's past ad campaigns and represents a step in the right direction to attracting users and showing off what Google and its phones can do.