Google has introduced the perfect travel accompaniment this festive season – an updated Google Now. In an official blog post, Google shares that the new update makes Google Now even more useful while travelling. The way this updated app works is that it will tell you what the weather will be like at your destination, even before you've left home! While at the airport, the app will pull out your boarding pass automatically, and this way you can make your way past the gate quickly. Once at your destination, users can use the Google Now app to discover some great activites, as it will show you the events happening around, while also suggesting websites for you to explore to help you decide on things to do. The app also lets you learn more about specific pieces while you're at a museum – using Google Goggles. 

Google Now updated for happy holidays!

Google Now updated for happy holidays!

Google says that the update builds on top of the other cards designed for travel – like currency conversion, translation, and flight status cards. Interestingly, the update also allows you to make voice searches, i.e. allow you to find out the name of the song that is playing, or find information on a product by scanning the barcode. They can also post updates to Google+ by using their voice. 

Here's the update at a glance:

New cards:

  • Events nearby
  • Suggestions to help with your research
  • Boarding passes from Gmail (United only, more to come)
  • Search by camera when at museums or shops
  • Weather at upcoming travel destinations
  • Approximate monthly summary of walking and biking activity
  • Birthdays

New voice actions:

  • Post to Google+
  • Say “What's this song?” to find the song you hear
  • Say “Scan a barcode” to find product info

Google Now was introduced at the Google I/O event held earlier this year. Essentially a new search interface for Android users in real-time, Google Now aims to get users more relevant and real-time results. The search feature is card-based and users can bring up cards containing the data they require in real-time. Google Now claims to give all relevant info in a single swipe. Speaking at the keynote, Hugo Barra, Director of Product Management, stated, “Google Now figures out when you commute from home to work and back, tells you how long your commute usually takes, and gives you a faster route if there's lot of traffic. On public transit, if you're on the platform at a subway, Google tells you when the next bus or train will arrive. Google Now gets you just the right information at just the right time, and all of it happens at the right time.”

Google Now claims to be a handy tool for everyday uses like commuting and driving directions. It can find you the best routes to get to your workplace quickly if your usual route is clogged. The tool can also list all local eateries in an instant when queried, and once in a restaurant, the search function automatically lists the restaurant's best dishes. Sports lovers too can stay updated on their favourite teams in real-time with Google Now.

Recently, quite a few users with Android Jelly Bean devices were unable to sign-in to Google Now. They received a notification saying that they could not be signed in to the service because it could not communicate with the servers. A few of us at Tech2 with Android Jelly Bean phones too faced this error. Access, however was restored soon after. 

The updated app is up for grabs on the Google Play store. 

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