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Android Tip: Welcome to Google Now!

The following post is from Michelle of Mommy Misadventures:

From appointments to restaurant reviews to hotel reservations, smartphones mean that all the information you need for your day-to-day life is available at just the swipe of a finger. Google Now takes your information a step further and gives you your information when you need it the most. This handy service was awarded Popular Science’s Innovation of the Year award in November 2012.

What is it?

Google Now uses “cards” or little notices that pop up to help inform you about upcoming events in your life and is available on Android 4.1 (JellyBean) capable phones like the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and Samsung Galaxy S3.

When you’re getting ready to leave for work, Google Now will pop up a notification with the traffic on your usual route. If there’s a lot of traffic, it will offer you alternate routes. Do you depend on your Google Calendar to help you keep track of your busy day? Google Now will pop up reminders that include directions and travel time. Wondering when the next bus or train is? Google Now can give you up-to-the-minute information.

Setting Up Google Now

In order to use Google Now, you need a phone running Android 4.1 (JellyBean) as well as an active Google account. On your phone, swipe up from the middle soft key to access the “Google Now” menu. If you have never activated Google Now before, it will give you the option to enable it.

Once enabled, scroll down to the three-button icon at the bottom of the Google Now screen to access the settings.

From here, you can access all the Google Now settings. Currently, there are over 25 cards to choose from, including Weather, Traffic, Flights, Places, and more. Touch each option as needed to modify the settings as desired.

If you want Google Now to notify you about location-based information (including traffic, restaurants, events, etc.), you will need to activate location access by going to Settings – Personal – Location access. This will allow access to your location by all applications.

The longer you use Google Now, the more accurate its notifications will become. However, if you decide you don’t like Google Now, you can always turn it off by going to Settings – Google Now. Choosing to disable Google Now will revert it to its default settings if you decide to reactivate it in the future.

Do you use Google Now? Do you find it to be a helpful service?

Michelle Mista is an IT professional, writer and blogger with a love for all kinds of technology. She writes about tech tips and trends for work at home professionals on her portfolio blog and muses about motherhood at Mommy Misadventures. She is on the constant quest to balance life, work and geekery.