10 ways to improve Google Now

10 ways to improve Google Now
We want it all, Now

Smartphones are now the central hub for our entire lives, but as they become ever more complex we could do with a helping hand from time to time.

Meet the digital personal assistants, which are quickly becoming an integral part of our smartphone's interface and something we're slowly getting more dependant upon.

Ask anyone about digital PA's and they'll probably be able to name Siri. Apple's assistant is the most well known, but currently suffers when it comes to providing real time data without external requests.

This is where Google Now succeeds in its ability to provide contextual information. Unfortunately for Google, the purchase of the crowd-funded app Cue will mean that Siri is about to get a lot smarter.

As Cue pulls in data from contacts, Twitter, Facebook and Gmail, it will give Apple a lot of information to make Siri even more powerful than Google Now.

Google Now is going to be given a much greater run for its money, so it needs to up its game. Here's how it needs to go about it.

1. Make use of our multi-device lifestyle

Google Now is already available on iOS and Android, and will soon be built into the desktop via Google Chrome. Google will then take this one step further, with the advent of wearable tech.

Now is already partially baked into Google Glass, and could well come as part of any upcoming smartwatch from the search giant. If Google decides that it is only going to put this functionality into its own smartwatch, it could well be missing a trick.

Google Now needs to spread the love

We suggested in our piece on what Google needs to do when it builds a smartwatch, that it needs support for more than just in house technology. We'd like to see it built into others, like the Sony Smartwatch 2 or Galaxy Gear.

2. Use our alarms and location reminders better

Taking the smartwatch idea one step further, Google could easily make this data far more relevant by using our alarms and reminders a little better.

The traditional alarm clock has now been replaced by alarms on smartphones, and generally at least five out of seven of those are for work. By noticing this, Google Now could see that we are getting up at the same time and going to the same place, even if we only go somewhere once a week.

Imagine the scenario that Now has noticed you wake up at 7am each day, leave at 7:30am and travel to work for 9; it could let you know how long it will take to get there, whether you're going to be on time, and if you'll need a coat on the way.

Google Now - weather

Google Now can already tell you the weather

A pre-set could be built in to let Now know that it is okay to wake you up early if your journey is going to take longer than expected, even with a time frame. 'Set alarm for 7am but wake me up between 6am and 7am should I need extra,' for example.

Incorporating notifications from third party sources like National Rail would only further boost this functionality. We've all been late for work at some point due to rail issues.

Google Now is already half way there, with the ability to show you the next train home, or your driving route with traffic updates - it just needs to be fine tuned.

3. Add support for third party email addresses

At the moment, Google Now can only pull data out of Google's proprietary email system. Don't have a dedicated Gmail account? You can completely forget Gmail cards.

This is a crying shame, as many people still prefer to use other email accounts. If Google could enable it so that it pulled the same data out of a Hotmail or Yahoo account that it does from a Gmail account, it would be relevant for so many more users.