Google's Now Gets Cleverer, Tweaked Interface

Google Now is partly an answer to Apple's Siri, and it just got a makeover.

Google Now has just been updated by Google to improve its instant-info services to Android device owners.

For starters, Now is also available on phone and tablet lock screens, so users don't have to push a button to activate it--which improves the relevance of the system. There's also movie rating info from Rotten Tomatoes and a movie ticketing service, via a partnership with Fandango. Google's also added local real estate data via Zillow.

Google Now launched in mid 2012 as a rival "zero interface" smartphone service to Apple's Siri, with the intention of delivering information to users seamlessly--almost without them having to access it. Apple has been updating Siri and its related Passbook service to include movie rating (again via Rotten Tomatoes) and ticketing, and recent job postings suggest it has big plans for Siri.

Google Now remains mainly a U.S.-relevant system.

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