Google Now is one of the niftiest features of Android Jelly Bean (4.1). As I’ve written before (Google Now – What about the 49ers?), though it’s imperfect, I like the way it attempts to learn my behavior and preferences. Based on what Google knows, and its relevance to my particular context, the mobile computing experience becomes infinitely more useful and productive.
For example, last night I needed to be in Berkeley for the opening of Chinglish at Berkeley Rep. Just over 90 minutes before the 8pm curtain, a notification on my Nexus came up informing me that if I needed to make it on time I needed to leave then. Clicking on the notification brings up a Google Now Card with more information, which I can then click through to get directions. With virtually no effort on my part, Google had me on my way, arriving with just enough time to enjoy a Raymond Chardonnay before the show (which was great).
And there’s even more to Google Now, aside from routine things such as directions and weather. It seems to even know about what I’ve been searching for on Google (insert privacy concern here) and attempting to present me with related information and updates.
Over on Google+ the team briefly announced that you can now add your favorite sports teams (140 of them), see movie showtimes, and also receive emergency messages such as storm warnings and earthquake alerts. To activate the new features go to settings on Google Now. It may not be immediately obvious where to find the menu. Here’s how.
How to Enable Favorite Sports Teams, Movie Showtimes and Emergency Messages
1. Go to settings in Google Now
Hold down home and swipe up as normal to pull up Google Now.
Scroll down to the bottom until you see “Show more cards…” and to the right click on the menu (the three vertical dots).
Click on Settings.
2. Click on Google Now.
You’ll see all the settings here. There’s quite an extensive list already (flights, travel, traffic, weather, places) and it appears as if adding even more functionality will be a priority for Google.
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