Popular Science acknowledges the greatest innovations and every year, it chooses which among these innovations deserve to be recognized and given the Innovation of the Year accolade. It has given the award to notable innovations in the past such as the digital camera, TiVo, SpaceShipOne, the genome sequencer, the Apple iPhone and App Store, and the Large Hadron Collider. Google Now got the Innovation of the Year citation for 2012. This is not the first recognition for Google, however. Popular Science previously acknowledged Google Maps.
Google Now was introduced the same time Android 4.1 Jelly Bean was introduced. It’s actually a feature of Google Search, but one that makes search really different. Google Now gets the information for you at the right time, without you needing to do anything. It tells you information about the traffic, the weather, your favorite places, public transit, flights, and bits of other information that you need. Google Now anticipates what information you need and gives it to you at the right moment. In the Philippines, Google Now is not fully useful but some features are already functional. It’s surprising how Google Now knows a lot of information about the user, and it’s actually a bit scary. Google Now is on the Nexus 7 and when I use it, I’m surprised to see the information gathered by the app. It’s like it knows me personally.
According to Popular Science, it chose Google Now as Innovation of the Year because “it really crosses a line, not just technologically, but in terms of the expectations that we humans have about our relationship to our technology”. It even compared Google Now to Siri and said Siri seems outdated by comparison.