What It Is and What It Can Do

Google Now is a digital personal assistant which is integrated into the Google search app for Android 4.1 and above, and recently iOS. Using natural speech you can tell Google Now to send text messages and emails, set alarms/reminders, schedule appointments, play a song, get directions, make a note, and perform a search. It also has the ability to scan barcodes, identify songs, and more.

There’s other software out there that can perform most if not all of those functions as well. But what has placed Google Now ahead of the pack is the ability to passively return useful information in the background without you having to ask for it in the form of on screen cards. For example if you open the Google app before you leave home in the morning  you’re likely to see traffic and weather reports, or at about 5pm local time you’re likely to see driving directions and a traffic report from work to home. Other types of information Google Now can retrieve are boarding passes for upcoming trips, birthdays and other events, as well as scores and game times for your favorite sports teams.

How to Optimize for Google Now

Google Now pulls most of its information from Google sources such as Gmail, Google Calendar, Google+, Google Finance, search history, and a key source Google+ Local (formerly Google Places).  An example of how this might work is if a user has been searching for wedding receptions Google could cross reference their location data with Google+ Local listings to retrieve nearby venues to display for them the next time they open up the app.

If your business isn’t listed and optimized for Google+ Local your business won’t be one of those being pushed to users using Google’s app.

Here are a few tips for optimizing your local results:

  • List your business in Google Plus Local.  The sooner the better with all things being equal it seems the edge will go to those listings that have been around longer.

  • Complete your profile with as much information as possible. The more information your Local listing has the better

  • Get favorable reviews on your listing.  Ask your repeat customers to leave a review on your Local page. A reserved way of doing this is to leave a note at the bottom of their invoice requesting a review if they feel inclined.

For more details and tips on improving your local rankings check out our post on Improving Local SEO.

The Future of Desktop Search?

Google recently added Google Now like voice search to Chrome, which can give voice feedback to certain queries just as Google Now does. With the push to make laptops more portable and tablets more powerful this convergence makes it easy to see why Google would want to bring more of Google Now’s features to its Chrome browser. When this next evolution in search happens will your business be ready?