The Allurement of Artificial Intelligence: Google Now


Originally titled "Between a rock & a hard place: Nexus 7 or iPad mini," but it ended up being more about Now.

I'm torn on whether to get a Nexus 7 or iPad mini.

The obvious advantage of the iPad mini is the tablet app ecosystem, as well as the fact that I'm already invested in the App Store. I have had an iPod touch for quite a while and the apps and games I already purchased will transfer over nicely. Plus, the mini feels really great in the hand with that aluminum back.

As to why on the Nexus 7? Beyond the fact that I'm bored with iOS and webOS and would like to try a new OS and the fact that it is much cheaper, which certainly helps since money is a bit tight right now~, is Google Now.

Google Now

I'm a gigantic artificial intelligence enthusiast. I dream of the day that AI is knowledgable and helpful enough to make our daily lives much easier and become much more than a mere gimmick. When artificial intelligence can act like a personal assistant, in the way why it provides you with information without you asking, that's going to be remarkable. Google Now does this in the way that it provides reverent information by just going to Now, without you having to prompt it. For example, it can tell you in morning if your commute is busy and provides you with an alternate route.

Durring an interview with the BBC, Amit Singhal, head of search at Google, said how search in the distant future will be done without the user having to manually initiate it due to the fact that it knows so much about you from the Knowledge Graph, that Google is pushing rather heavily.

Some might find that creepy, but I find that remarkable that technology has reached such a point. It's probably a generation gap thing that my generation won't probably find creepy.

As reaffirmed by the updates that Google added to Now when they launched Android 4.2, it is clear to me that Google Now is not another Buzz. It's not a side project that Google will stop working on in a year, but rather a key part of the company's future. This sentiment can clearly be seen in Dieter's excellent video interview of the Google Now/Android team:

As Matias said, it’s not an app, "It’s a platform."

As to why not Siri?

Due to the sheer amount of knowledge Google has on you, I think Siri will never be able to catch up to Now. Siri is meant to be your personal assistant, but does not act like one in the way Now does. For example, Google has the upper hand as it can scan your Gmail for info like flight confirmations and show them to you, again without your prompting.

In Closing

Any of you think that I'm slightly insane for wanting a Nexus 7 purely for Google Now? I would obviously try to integrate Now into my daily routine as much as possible, in order to get as much as possible from it. At the moment, I'm slightly leaning towards the Nexus 7 purely for the price, due to monetary conditions, but as Josh alludes to in his review of the iPad mini: $130 gets you the supper app ecosystem, as well as a nicer less toyish hardware. Like Nilay said on an episode of the Vergecast: apps are the way your device interacts with the world around you. That's an extremely important factor to make sure my investment is future-proofed.

Thoughts on which I should get?

P.S. On the thing about how most Android tablets apps are nothing more than scaled up phone apps: those of you who have Nexus 7s mind taking screenshots of certain apps so that I can see what apps will look like. I'm mostly interested in the apps that I use the most on iOS: Twitter, Flipboard, NY Times, CNN, Pocket/Instapaper, any weather apps.