This is largely a visual refresh with a particular focus on voice search and Google Now cards. For the former, Google merely described the improvements as a “fresh look and feel.”
Google Now cards are now organized by sections that the company says “make it easier to scan for the info you need.” If you’re an Android user and have Google Now set up, this will be a familiar experience:
The ordering is very straightforward. Timely info (upcoming flights, appointments, and traffic updates) shows up first, followed by less urgent cards (like suggestions for videos and articles) lower down your feed. Unfortunately, just like on Android, there’s no way to reorder these as you please: All you can do is scroll or swipe cards away.
Google has also added “easy to navigate” search results for the NBA and soccer matches. Game info, team news, and league standings are all available, including up-to-the minute box scores.
Setting this up works like for any sporting team in Google Now. Search for the team you want to follow, and Google Now will start to keep track of them for you. You can also manually add teams in Google Now’ settings.
Unfortunately, Google Now still isn’t very good at keeping you up-to-date on all games for certain teams. For example, while I get updates for Toronto FC, Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Raptors, and the Poland national football team, I still don’t get updates for Canada’s men’s national soccer team. Google Now also isn’t good at showing you results from friendly games, but that’s of course not as important.
Nonetheless, this is a welcome update for iOS users. Google Now is the type of feature that makes the Google app irreplaceable on Apple’s mobile OS, even if you prefer Bing, Yahoo, or even just asking Siri.