Each month I highlight web or mobile apps that are useful to lawyers. Sometimes the apps are developed specifically for lawyers and other times I feature non-legal apps that are nevertheless interesting to lawyers.
Today’s app is Google Now, which has been available for Android devices for some time now, but was just released for iOS devices last month. This app is Google’s intelligent personal assistant that is designed to provide you with the information most relevant to your daily life, right on your smartphone.
Like Siri, Apple’s personal assistant, the Google Now app responds to voice commands and also provides “information cards” catered to your needs, based on your interaction with your phone. The information is gleaned from your phone’s GPS data and the data that Google has collected regarding your search history. It then personalizes its results and predicts which “information cards” will be most useful to you.
So, for example, I’ve been using it for the past week and based upon my usage, it provides “cards” of relevant information, including traffic directions and conditions from my current location to my home, information about packages being delivered to me, the weather for my current location, and restaurants located nearby.
Of course, in order to increase the usefulness of the app, you must necessarily give up some of your privacy to Google. So, when I turned on the Google Now features, I was given the option to allow Google to save my search history, a setting I had previously disabled for privacy reasons. Since I wanted to see what this app could do, I chose to enable this setting and allow my searches to be saved for now. But it is important that you are cognizant of, and carefully consider, the privacy risks presented when using this app.
That being said, I think this app has a lot of potential. It’s free for both Android and iOS devices and is included as part of the Google Search mobile app, available for Android devices here and iOS devices here.