I’ve really come to appreciate Google Now, lately.

Many have likened it as a rival to Apple’s Siri technology, but its importance to the future of Google shouldn’t really be taken lightly.

Google Now is growing, spreading, and catching the eyes of people that matter – the users.

Google Now is the search giant’s killer app for mobile search. It’s personalised and instinctive, giving users information before they need it in an informative but unobtrusive manner.

It’s also nothing new. Google Now was released in June 2012, but its careful and considered roll-out is only just starting to be noticed by Android users and beyond.

For people interested in local and mobile search optimisation, Google Now will be an essential future component to the way you get your name out to a wider audience.

It’s all in the cards

Google Now is the search giant’s killer app for mobile search.Google introduced new cards to Google Now last week including cards that give users movie and TV recommendations, topic cards that drag news from the web, rugby scores, and more.

Those have been added to existing cards such as places, appointments, sports results, events, public transport times, and many others.

Hold on, what do I mean by cards?

Well, the information pops up on your mobile or tablet in the form of a small card-type graphic. Bitesize information on the go for your favourite things.

Visiting town on Saturday I got a card alerting me to local Chinese restaurants complete with ratings, reviews and more.

It was tempting, but I had spoiled myself earlier in the day with a few too many treats at the Manchester Christmas market.

Any other day, though, and one of those restaurants would have been getting my money.

Have you had a real Google Now ‘wow’ moment yet? Let me know what happened in the comments below!

Face time

So how did my phone know I had a soft spot for Chinese at that particular time?

Google Now takes into account information from a number of Google products that you’re signed up to. Location-based services, search preferences, Gmail, Google Calendar, Google+, and Google Finance.

Over time Google Now has used information collected in these services to paint a picture of who I am, my likes, and more. It’s a personal assistant that you don’t even know is on your shoulder.

But more importantly, and on the other side of the coin, how did those Chinese restaurants get into Google Now and directly in front of my face?

Also, why wasn’t it in front of my face when Google Now was released last year?

Google Now was first only available for Android Jelly Bean 4.1, and was used to demonstrate the operating system. Supported cards were also incredibly limited.

Fast forward to now though and Google Now is a much more refined service and is even available on iOS and can be accessed on a desktop through Google Chrome.

Are you using Google Now? How effective has it been for your business so far? Let me know about your experiences in the comments below.

Now’s the right time to get involved, especially post-Hummingbird. So let’s get…

… Optimising for Google Now

Optimising for Google Now isn’t that tricky a subject. It’s a Google service, it’s pushing local data, it’s taking data from Google’s core products.

This isn’t a question of search engine optimisation. Links, content, social media… they’re incredibly unlikely to have any bearing on your standing in Google Now.

Rather, Google Now is a case of Google profile optimisation at its finest.

Anyone who’s been reading up on my local and mobile optimisation tips (and have been following them) should already be in a brilliant position to take advantage of Google Now.

It’s the theme that’s been so important to me during my career in search – laying ethical foundations online for your business that attracts real results.

Google Places

It’s important to get as much detail of your business and site as possible into Google Places.

Local optimisation is essential for Google Now, so it’s important to get as much detail of your business and site as possible into Google Places.

That includes locations, opening times, payment details, directions, images, and as much information as possible not just for Google Now, but for people that may be looking for your services online.

Google Business Pages

Creating a business page on Google+ and sharing content with it will also be beneficial, especially when it’s linked with your site.

Making an effort to be social and communicate with local people with your business page will pay of in the long run for Google Now, and it’s also important for…

Google Reviews

Authority is, and always has been, essential to Google when it judges a site. And like local listings Google Now is likely to take Google reviews into account.

Encourage customers to leave honest reviews on your business page. Interact with them, and let online word of mouth do the talking for you when it comes to local optimisation.

The bottom line is if you want to get in on the ground floor on Google Now, you’re going to have to use its products and optimise for all of its services.

And on first impressions, it’s going to be worth it.

The future for Google Now

There are still a huge number of secrets left in Google Now’s closet that it’s yet to spill but there’s one thing the search giant simply isn’t able to keep quiet.

Google Now is growing, spreading, and catching the eyes of people that matter – the users.

Being able to create something that’s knowledgeable to predict what you want and when (within reason, over time) is a truly remarkable feat of technology.

But that it’s only just coming to prominence and is still getting features and cards added to it underlines that it’s still not the finished product.

But with cards for local businesses already popping up in front of people’s faces, its value for search cannot and should not be underestimated.

For Google and the future of mobile search optimisation, it’s another exciting new beginning.

 

To get your business into Google Now and other Google local pages and places contact Webpresence today to find out more.