Über tech giant Google continues its domination of the search wars. Some believe that a brand has arrived when its name comes to denote either a noun (for product class) or verb (for some sort of function). So in this case, “Google it” has become a synonym for “do an Internet search for it.” Not bad for a brand that started out as a spelling mistake.
Google’s purchase of YouTube, which has become the world’s biggest discovery tool for music (and a host of other nifty things), was genius. The roll-out and functionality of Google + remains a mystery when compared to the ease and popularity of Facebook. But Google Now, which usually comes installed with new tablets, shows some promise.
I like the fact that it can track your daily movements between what it registers as your home address and place of work, using the route you normally travel to determine how long it will take you to get there, as it seamlessly interfaces with Google Maps. In that sense, it has better functionality than a GPS, and it’s also quite accurate in terms of time estimates. When we went to Durban recently, it not only told us how long the journey would take, but how far away we still were. The GPS only told us how long to the next turn, not how far we had travelled or the distance left. Google Now has strong promise as a navigational tool – though in my not-so-humble opinion there is no substitute for a good old-fashioned paper map.
It’s still a bit buggy and in Beta mode, as sometimes you will already be home and it will map out a route from your current location, which is nowhere near where you are. But I reckon it has legs.
Google seems to have the drive and ambition to continue to offer the world functional innovation. We like it, even if Big Brother is watching a bit too much.