How to train Now to show you better cards

BY GreenBot Staff

Published 3 Jul 2014

It’s clear that Now is at the heart of Android’s future, with products like Android ar the Now uncher rolling out of the plex. Have you ever really looked closely at the cards Now shows you, though? There might be a lot of junk in there that you’re just mindlessly swiping away, all the while unaware of the features you’re missing out on. It’s time to stop leaving functionality on the table—let’s get Now trained to show better, more relevant cards.

Give your details

The first step is learning to love the , or if not loving then at least trusting it enough to h over your location preferences. To have Now be even marginally useful, you’ll need location services turned on in the system settings. In addition, you should hit the preferences for Now (denoted by the w button at the bottom of the card list) add your home work addresses.

These tweaks will make sure the phone alerts you to traffic snarls, inclimate weather, generally helps you plan ahead for your daily commute. Make sure to tell Now how you get around (driving, bike, etc.) so it can offer the right cards, like the mega-awesome parking location card.

googlenow 01
Telling where you live work can really help it provide better cards.

ile you’re in the preferences, you should go down the list add in the various things for which you’re interested in seeing cards. Maybe you’re a fan of a particular sports team, or you bought a foolishly large number of shares in a particular company. Now can make sure you know what’s going on in either circumstance—it just needs to know you’re interested.

The TV settings are a good place to explore as well. You can set your TV provider (cable, satellite, or over-the-air), but also your preferred streaming providers. Fill in this data you’ll get cards for video content from TV, as well as Netflix, Hulu, whichever other sources you’ve chosen. Now can guess at some of your interests based on search history, but as we’ll see shortly, it’s not very good at it. You’re better off telling it the basics.

Feed the right data

To make Now more useful, the general rule of thumb for email confirmations is, “yes always.” Now can extract information like package shipping status, dining reservations, airline tickets. There is usually an option to have this information delivered to your inbox, but it doesn’t actually need to be your email. If, for example, your significant other has booked plane tickets or ordered something online, have them forward the email to you. l Now needs is the text confirmation numbers it can figure out the rest. The original recipient’s address doesn’t figure in at all.

googlenow 02
If you let scan your mail, it can provide shipping notices, or remind you of restaraunt reservations.

cation is a big deal to Now, as you have probably gathered. It works best when it knows not only where you are, but where you are going to be. One of the best features of Now is that it can look at traffic in real time tell you when you need to leave to get to work or an appointment. Now probably knows where you work, but everything else is up to you. en you add a new appointment on Calendar, there’s an often underused field for location. Don’t just enter some vague nonsense that will be enough to remind you when the appointment comes up, it needs to mean something to too. If has the actual address in the location field, you get the departure time traffic warnings just like you would for your daily commute.

It’s not as hard to do this as it once was—the official Calendar app got an update a few months ago that added automatic search to the location field. st start typing the address or name of the location, will offer suggestions. Sure, it means a few extra button taps, but then you’ll have Now on your side when the time comes.

cation sharing

You’re probably familiar at this point with Now’s ability to give you info about your commute, but it can also tell you about other people’s commutes if they decide to share them. Sharing your commute is an extension of + location sharing. You can enable it by having the other party go into the + location menu add you to the “npoint location” group. Commute sharing also needs to be turned on in Now settings under Accounts ivacy. 

googlenow 03
nt to know when the missus is on the way home? YOu can share your commute with each other.

On your own device, find the commute update option under your preferences (probably crammed down in the Everything Else group) make sure it’s set to “Yes.” Now will generate a card each time that person starts their daily commute home when they arrive if you’re not there. It should also drop a notification into the status bar for this one.

Stay on top of those cards

Sometimes Now correctly guesses what sort of web links you might want to see, but most of the time they’re lame. If you search for a product one time, Now might start showing you cards. End up on a particular website once or twice, suddenly you must be interested in all the updates to that site. The first step to dealing with this is telling Now about yourself, but you also need to deal with those poorly-suggested cards.

Each card has a small three-dot button in the corner, which can be used to hide or reinforce it. It will say “Are you interested in [this thing]?” To which you can say yes or no. Answer in the negative you won’t get cards on that topic anymore. Say “yes” Now will continue offering links related to it. Simply swiping unwanted cards away doesn’t affect preferences.

googlenow 04
Find a card that isn’t useful? Don’t just swipe it away, let know you don’t want to see it anymore.

If you give Now the information it needs occasionally prune the incorrect suggestions, you’ll find those cards get much more useful. This feature is only going to become more important on Android, so you’d better learn to embrace it.