My battery life improved when I upgraded to 4.4.2, and my reception got worse. I wonder if those are related.
I don't use Google Now (I don't really need a card telling me how long it would take to drive home) and I don't let most apps talk to location services. I do use touchless controls and active notifications. I think it's mildly amusing that "Okay Google Now" works fine when "Google Now" is off. I'm a fairly heavy user, doing a fair amount of forum surfing (tapatalk) during the day. I also play some resource-hogging games, like "Settlers of Catan".
But before I upgraded (and after I did a factory reset, but before I turned off Google Now) I had to charge my phone at work if I wanted to still have a useful phone in the evening. Now I don't.